Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Which Mask To Choose?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Which Mask To Choose?

    I have been on countless Flu forums and microbiologists agree that in the event of a pandemic choosing the right mask will be vital. With so many on the market it can get rather confusing. One thing is for sure, surgical masks are going to be virtually useless. It's like trying to filter sand through a pasta strainer. The H5N1 virus is so much smaller than .3um. Why on earth would anyone want to wear a N95 mask which is only 95% effective? Would it not be more prudent to wear a mask that is 99.99% effective? Would it not be wiser to actually use a mask that's been tested with biological agents instead of salt particles? It's kind of like building a boat and spraying it with a hose then telling everyone it will float.
    I understand that N95's are inexpensive and yes better than nothing. But why is everyone so quick to accept it as being the best or only solution. Their are masks out there that will give you 99.99% protection. I've read that the H5N1 virus is attached to droplets and that the N95 will stop it from passing through. What about the 5% that might get through. How long will the mask last? Not all face masks provide the same level of performance hour after hour of use. Studies show that when subjected to bio-aerosols, the performances of most face masks deteriorate significantly over time unless there is a antimicrobial agent which guards against microbial deterioration of the filtration media.

    This is Data from the Minnesota Department of Health
    What is N-95?
    Filters and infectious particles
    Particles greater than 5 microns fall out of the air
    Particles 1 – 5 microns in diameter can enter upper airways
    0.1 – 1 micron particles enter lower lungs and alveolar ducts

    Examples of particle size:
    *Viruses 0.02 to 0.3 microns - N95 mask not effective
    *Bacteria 0.5 to 10 microns - N95 mask effective
    *Mold spores 1 to 70 microns - N95 mask effective
    *Fungi 2 to >200 microns - N95 mask effective

    Particulate filter efficiency is based on ability to remove particles greater > than 0.3 microns in diameter (medial aerodynamic diameter of 0.3 um)


    It is also very important to note, that although the CDC recommends these products as suitable levels of protection against the H5N1 virus, the testing criteria used to certify these products does not include any biological agents.


    NIOSH only tests the filtration efficiencies of N95, N99 and N100 face masks against salt particles, and does not currently employ any standards to test against live agents.

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/i.../comp/n95.html

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pt84abs2.html
    42 CFR part 84
    "Under the new particulate filter tests, NIOSH will certify three classes of filters, N-, R-, and P-series, with three levels of filter efficiency, 95%, 99%, and 99.97%, in each class. All filter tests will employ the most penetrating aerosol size, 0.3 µm aerodynamic mass median diameter. The N-series will be tested against a mildly degrading aerosol of sodium chloride (NaCl). The R- and P-series filters will be tested against a highly degrading aerosol of dioctylphthalate (DOP): "

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usern...uard062906.pdf
    This is a warning about Nano Guard masks.


    http://www.viraldefender.com/
    This is the only mask that I was able to find that had an antimicrobial agent to protect the filtration media. I will look for others.
    Last edited by guinness; July 28, 2006, 05:38 PM. Reason: sales link

  • #2
    Re: WHICH MASK TO CHOOSE?

    Guiness - Are you, in any way, earning any income from the sale of any kind of mask?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: WHICH MASK TO CHOOSE?

      NO. I own an Irish Pub.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: WHICH MASK TO CHOOSE?

        Thanks for that disclosure. We can not allow sales on the site now that we are non-profit. Thank you for participating.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: WHICH MASK TO CHOOSE?

          Guiness-welcome.

          One of the reasons that N95's are a "standard" is availability and cost, as you mention.

          The viral particle does run smaller than the mask filtration of 0.3 angstroms.

          However- and this is the logic that makes N95's the mask of choice for healthcare- it usually is transmitted via droplet or fomite spread.
          The droplet particles that virus is in- think a cough or sneeze- usually are larger than 0.3 angstroms.

          You are probably familiar with the term "fomite", but I'll explain it for any of our new readers. Let's use an example from the bar- if a customer coughs into their hand, then touches their beer glass- the customer has deposited the droplets in their hand onto the surface of the glass. They finish up and go home. You go by the section where the customer sat, wipe down the bar and pick up the glass-and in doing so, the virus on the glass gets onto your hands. If you touch your face while that virus is on your hands, you may well allow the virus entry into th eoropharynx and then get a case of the flu. The beer glass was the "fomite"- an object that gets contamined with a disease producing organism and that helps it spread to others. telepehones, keyboards, door knobs, elevator buttons, pens, cigarette lighters etc- are all common fomites.

          So, you've correctly identiifed that the dry viral particle is smaller than mask size, and it is possible for it to pass thru the N95 mask material. However, its unusual to have it spread that way- its most commonly spread via droplets- that usually are larger than the baffles in the filter material of an N95 or N99. (BTW, AFAIK the holes in an N99 are the about the same size as N95- theres just more baffles, so the particles slow down and are more likely to get trapped).

          The healthcare professional organizations recommend N95 for most usage in flu. They do say that when doing procedures that may aerosolize (create extremely fine droplets, or even airborne without droplets, where the size is smaller) the virus such as suctioning, giving nebulizer treatments or intubating-that better protection ( ie a PAPR) should be worn.

          This was borne out in SARS, which had a similar size particle- and research there showed that the heathcare workers that were infected while wearing N95's either had poor fitting masks, serious breaks in technique (beards, or forgetting to put it on!) or were doing RT procedures that generated aerosols.

          After reading that research some time ago- before this even became an issue- I'm not too uncomfortable with N95's as the workhorse. As long as they are fitted correctly, I think they will be pretty effective for most of us in most situations. If there's a very heavy viral load, than I'd have some greater concern- but IMHO I think that fomite spread and not handwashing are really the big risks for most people most of the time (at least those not caring for the ill). Not which mask they use, almost any N95 mask that is well fitted and keeps put droplets is decent- one of the benefits is that it keeps your hands off your face! (even surgical masks do that - so they may not be terribly effective in stopping small droplets- but they do decrease illness because they cut down autoinnoculation). One of my concerns is that some folks who havent been educated to how this stuiff spreads will go out and buy masks, and slap them on- assuming they are protected; and not be careful about social distancing techniques, handwashing, avoiding fomites, etc. That the mask is subconsciously some kind of shield, and they get a false sense of security and put themselves in situations that they wouldnt if they didnt have a mask. After all, its a tool, not a guarantee! LOL. But human natuire beign what it is, unless folks have been reading the boards like you, I feel theres a good chance they may be prone to this).

          Just my .02, and the logic behind my thoughts. I'm sure that many people will feel more comfortable with higher grade protection- and thats great, IMO they should do whats emotionally comfortable and affordable for them. For many of us, there are some financial constraints involved in our prepping. Allocating the money avialable does matter. For me, I'd rather have 100 N95's than 10 N99's; and LOTS of food and supplies (and maybe a couple of N99's for special situations). Thats my own comfort level, YMMV.

          HTH!
          .
          Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
          Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
          Of facts....They lie unquestioned, uncombined.
          Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
          Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
          To weave it into fabric..
          Edna St. Vincent Millay "Huntsman, What Quarry"
          All my posts to this forum are for fair use and educational purposes only.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Which Mask To Choose?

            Our department is specifying 1/2 face respirators with P100 filters, OSHA fit-tested, and fluid barrier goggles as the minimum protection.

            SCBA is preferred for any patient contact in a pandemic.

            OSHA requires us to get yearly respiratory physicals and fit testing on our respirators and SCBA's.

            We are now going to carry 3 complete sets of respirators on every piece of apparatus, along with Tyvek fluid barrier bunny suits.

            This has all come down in the past month or so.

            We have some N95 masks, but the plan is to use them on patients, not responders.
            --
            Life's full of speedbumps.
            Have a good suspension.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Which Mask To Choose?

              I love it, speedbump-thats great! would be neat if ours would do that- but considering the cost of PAPRs or SCBA- i dont think theres any way that most (or hadly any, methinks) hospitals will do that. At least, thats what I'm hearing- many places now dont even think N95's are necessary! I myself have already said loud and clear- once the PPE is gone, so am I- I'm dedicated- not stupid!

              I hope theyre listening (but dont see any signs that they are- they havent yet ordered a single extra mask AFAIK). Cause I really dont think too many hospital based HCW will show without protection, even if its only a 1918 mortality rate.

              .
              Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
              Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
              Of facts....They lie unquestioned, uncombined.
              Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
              Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
              To weave it into fabric..
              Edna St. Vincent Millay "Huntsman, What Quarry"
              All my posts to this forum are for fair use and educational purposes only.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Which Mask To Choose?

                Do you see what I mean. Speedbump validates what I'm saying. N95's will be distributed to the patients. Anyone who knows the limitations of the N95 mask is certainly not going to wear it. Especially if their in a situation where people around them are infected. I'd like to know what the Presidents going to wear? Do you think he has a case of N95's in his closet just in case? I highly doubt it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Which Mask To Choose?

                  oh yea, I understand. And, I agree- if I had my druthers, I'd have oodles of the very best. But practicality intrudes, for me and many others- we just cant dedicate the cash that requires and ignore other importnat preps and day-to-day needs. I think thats gonna carry thru not just to individuals, but organizations, too.

                  In all honesty- the very best, in my mind- is to have a situation where you can socially isolate effectively enough that masks arent even needed. But thats just not gonna happen for most of us, not for 18 months or so...so my own comfort level is to do the best with what Ive got and can get. Figured I'd just explain it as best I could.

                  If you can get cases on the best- go for it, man! I'm all for it, and wish you the best with it! Ive got what I can, and as I get my preps more well rounded, and break free more cash-then I'll add better masks too, if I can. But if I talk to new folks, just prepping who, as so many are,m trying to do this with limited funds to do it with- then I suggest they get well rounded (lots of food, water, meds, tools, disposables, and other needs like heat and fuel) THEN, if time and funds permit- then upgrade each prep as possible- if I blew all my money on masks, the pandemic hit and there were food and fuel shortages-well, you cant eat masks, and they wont keep you warm! See what I mean? Theres no doubt in my mind that the higher rated masks are preferable, I absolutely agree with you. But I think its even more important to not focus on any one prep, but rather get the best you can within your resources, and be covered for all aspects. We have lots of beginners that read here, and I want to give them some food for thought, and also answer the intitial question of why people do yuse N95's and have them in their preps.
                  Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
                  Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
                  Of facts....They lie unquestioned, uncombined.
                  Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
                  Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
                  To weave it into fabric..
                  Edna St. Vincent Millay "Huntsman, What Quarry"
                  All my posts to this forum are for fair use and educational purposes only.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Which Mask To Choose?

                    Has anybody done an actual cost analysis on disposables vs. respirator>cartridge combination ?

                    Just curious.
                    --
                    Life's full of speedbumps.
                    Have a good suspension.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: For All the Beginners Here

                      Masks, mask types, and wearing them correctly are vitally important in certain situations. But don't miss the important point made by LMonty above.

                      ... but IMHO I think that fomite spread and not handwashing are really the big risks for most people most of the time (at least those not caring for the ill). Not which mask they use, ...
                      You will not be able to wear a mask 100% of time, but think about how many times a day you have touched something (a fomite) that could be contaminated. Review LMonty's discussion above for some examples. One she did not mention, but is critical, is paper currency and coins. Once a pandemic starts you will have treat any change you receive from clerks as contaminated with the virus. There is more to a virus spreading than just aerosolization (Is that even a word? )
                      http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Which Mask To Choose?

                        Hi Folks,

                        I'm stocking the 3M 8233 which are N100 (mask-style) respirators. These are not your local hospital's surgical masks by a long shot!

                        There was a study done in Canada during the SARs outbreak that showed the N100 was significantly superior. Here is an article about that study along with it's link:

                        The best protection John H. Lange

                        The transmission of the virus causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) appears to be by aerosol droplet and possibly through other routes.1 Therefore, it is recommended that health care workers and others who may be exposed1 employ respiratory and other personal protective equipment.2,3 The type of respirator that has typically been used by health care workers is the N95 half-mask.2,3 As correctly stated by Richard Schabas,2 the "N95-rated mask" is 95% filtration efficient,4 but does this level of efficiency provide the best protection for those at risk of exposure? The effectiveness of the N95 respirator has been supported by a small study on prevention of occupational transmission of infection.1 However, for work with bacterial bioaerosols and chemical and biological warfare agents, some have suggested that N95 masks are inappropriate5,6 because these respirators do not provide "absorbent capability" and because of the amount of mask leakage, which can be about 5% through the filter and 10% around the mask,7 even if properly fitted. For biological diseases like SARS, for which just a few particles may be sufficient for infection, the N95 mask may indeed be inadequate, and some health care workers may therefore become infected even if they use the respirator properly.

                        A better selection for respiratory protection would be an N100 respirator with an ultra-low penetrating air filter (ULPA), which would cost only slightly more than an N95 respirator. N100 respirators have an efficiency of 99.977%,8 and ULPA filters are 99.999% efficient for monodispersed particles 0.12 ?m in diameter or larger.9 HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters would not be the best selection for use with a respirator because their efficiency is 99.97% for monodispersed particles 0.3 ?m in diameter or larger, and coronaviruses are smaller than this (at about 60 to 200 nm). For effective operation of an N100 respirator with ULPA, the user must be fit-tested. The United States and many other countries have numerous requirements for using a negative-pressure air-purifying respirator, including medical evaluation and training, as well as yearly fit-testing.

                        http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/168/12/1524

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Which Mask To Choose?


                          Organic Vapour/Inorganic and Acid Gas/Ammonia/Particulate Respirator

                          My personal opinion and choice.
                          Cheap, reusable and doesn’t leek.
                          Filters pretty small particles.

                          About these virus killing masks, they have got me so exited I went out and bought some 100 proof vodka, I have it in a squirt can, I will be testing it later tonight, the aim is to spray some of the disinfectant at the mask at regular intervals, if intervals seem too long will shorten frequency until mask is evenly saturated to give full protection, will report on results if I remember to log details.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X