RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A shortage in face masks is inspiring people across the Triangle to make their own and donate them to local hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.
Not all face masks are created equal. The coveted N95 mask is in high demand because it actually filters out potentially-harmful particles
In a crisis where the coveted N95 are few, how effective are the homemade masks against keeping out COVID-19? We asked experts at UNC Rex.
"One of the very final options that they have is if you do run out of your FDA approved masks, then homemade masks would be a possibility if we had no other option to explore. It's been a great outpouring from the community," UNC Rex Infection Control Officer Marty Cooney said.
Here's how you can donate and what local hospitals need most.
UNC is accepting both manufactured and homemade masks. Cooney is even teaming up with some of the volunteers.
"We've seen some that are quite ingenious on the homemade mask end. Some that actually have patterns from the real companies and they match the material as close as possible," Cooney said.
For their medical staff, it's less about the medical grade supply and more about appreciating the support during the crisis.
"I think we definitely need to give a big thank you to many many people," Cooney said.
UNC Rex tells ABC11 they're also experimenting with UV purification which would use UV rays to kill germs on protective equipment, so that equipment could be reused. This is only being tested at this time.
WakeMed, on the other hand, is not accepting homemade masks.
Homemade face masks can be donated to UNC Rex Hospital