• Medical-grade face masks that protect you against the novel coronavirus are almost impossible to find right now, and you shouldn’t buy them even if you can because healthcare professionals have a much greater need.
  • Alternatives to N95 face masks don’t protect you quite as well, but they’re better than nothing and they’re in stock right now on Amazon.
  • DIY face masks are another solution that might be even more effective, and they’re very easy to make with a few key supplies and things that you already have around your home.
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Everyone is feeling the stress right now as the novel coronavirus outbreak grows worse and worse in the United States. When we’re stressed and afraid, we’re likely to do things that aren’t exactly rational… like hoard toilet paper. We also don’t typically follow instructions very well when we’re scared or afraid, and that’s why the general public has been buying up all the N95 medical-grade face masks people can get their hands on. Please stop. Right now. Healthcare professionals on the front lines are now suffering from a shortage of face masks, and these are the people we count on to help us when we’re sick. If they’re not properly protected, they’re going to be infected by COVID-19 and then we’re all screwed. So again, even if you find N95 face masks in stock somewhere, please don’t buy them.

The good news is that there are some good alternatives that you can use without putting healthcare workers — and therefore, yourself — at risk. Just yesterday we told you about a great DIY coronavirus face mask solution that’s super easy to make and only requires two supplies that you don’t already have lying around the house. One is a MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter and the other is an Activated Carbon Pad Charcoal Sheet for Air Filters, and both are in stock and shipping right now on Amazon.

If you’re not the DIY type despite how easy it is to make those face masks, there’s another option: you can use face masks that aren’t N95, KN95, or another type of mask that’s certified for use by medical professionals. In hospitals around the world where supply shortages are at their worst, medical professionals are being instructed to use whatever is available like t-shirts and scarves to cover their faces.

The simple fact of the matter is that something is better than nothing, but we can at least get you better protection than a t-shirt or scarf. Amazon has 3-layer face masks that just came back in stock, and they’re ready to ship now so you don’t have to worry about waiting until late April like you do with some shipments. They’ll almost certainly sell out quick though, so grab a box or two while you still can. And when those inevitably sell out, you can try to find more using this Amazon search for face masks.

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