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Masks and Wearing Them

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  • Masks and Wearing Them

    Everybody talks about the masks, But it's just as important to use them correctly.

    Masks that help prevent the spread of H5N1 are rated N-95 or N-100. These are OSHA codes identifying the level of particle screeing a mask can do. You can get the ones made by 3-M at a hardware store like Home Depot for construction/painting. The letter codes have to do with degree of oil resistance N=none, P=partial. The only difference between the medical and construction ones (I checked) is that the construction one doesn't come with instructions.

    Masks used in medical settings have to be "fit tested." This is usually done in hospitals where they have a test kit, and if you can smell the scent they use, the mask isn't fitting right. There can often be a gap around the nose/cheeks or chin where air is coming though. If scented air is coming in, so are viruses.

    To improvise a fit test, try donning your mask as securely as possible, spray some perfume, hairspray, or freshner away from you. See if you can smell it. If you can't, you have a good fit, if you can smell it, you need to check and fit it again.

    Don't forget, you need to do this every time you put on a mask, otherwise it's is a false sense of security.

    You also need have have goggles that seal around the eyes, which is another point of entry, being mucus membrane. Swim goggles work, ski goggles don't. You can also order goggles (and masks) online from medical supply stores.

    Also, it's important to take off the mask with a gloved hand, taking care not to let the mask touch your face. Hold your hand over the mask, and use your other hand to pull the bands up and forward over and away from your head.

    All masks, gloves, booties, gowns need to go into "contaminated" garbage bags. Goggles need to go into disinfectant.

    The surgical masks that are in drug stores stop bacteria (much larger), and against viruses, are considered mostly cosmetic.

    If you wear the equipment wrong, it's useless, and possibly fatal.

  • #2
    Re: Masks and Wearing Them

    What about Nanomasks?


    • #3
      Re: Masks and Wearing Them

      Conceptually, nanomasks are a great idea, but I have some reservations. First, I've seen no testing/certification by an independent lab or agency, like OSHA, another is the problem of disposablility and contamination. The filter can be changed, but the plastic filter holder, straps etc, can be contaminated, even when you have a new filter, unless completely disinfected, and I don't know how the materials hold up under various cleaners. Fit has also been an issue for some users, just as with the 3M masks. So far, the only folks who are saying it works are the manufacturers.

      And on another point, many people have noted supply problems from some outlets, not getting product, payment issues.

      I have an open mind on the technology, but not enough data to make an endorsement of it