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#172538 - 05/01/09 04:58 AM Re: N95 masks [Re: ]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
It would be nice if they would start making N95 masks with some sort of small rubber seal that has a wire inside for shaping that meets the face, but that would add cost to the masks. Still a good idea.

I think the Wilson brand masks do have the neoprene (I think) gasket around the edge. Also, the Triosyn (blue, iodine-impregnated) masks have a gasket around the edge, if I remember correctly.
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“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

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#172549 - 05/01/09 03:49 PM Re: N95 masks [Re: MDinana]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: MDinana
Masks over the healthy do NOTHING. Viruses are small enough to pass through the pores. Since you need to touch the virus on a surface, or breath it in, just wash your hands.

I first read this last night and thought, "Wow, that's a rather provocative statement," so I slept on it.

It would be nice if I had been there to hear the entire context of the statement but that's not important. I do agree that hand washing is far more important to protect most of us from any flu bug than having a mask.

For average folks, better to stock up, carry, and frequently use hand sanitizer than stocking up on N95 masks if you're worried about the flu (among the other suggested steps, like cough etiquette).

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#172553 - 05/01/09 04:08 PM A little historical context [Re: Russ]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
I was curious about when the N95/99/100 standard started, and while I was doing some reading, I discovered that the new standard was adopted in 1995 primarily in response to protecting workers against TB. Actually, that's not that long ago, when you think about it.

If you recall, there was an upsurge in infectious TB in the early 90's. Workers in the healthcare setting and also in jails/prisons were very concerned about their safety. Before then, it seems that surgical masks on the patients and workers were the norm, but workers were getting infected so the CDC came up with a new standard. Prior to that, masks were regulated primarily for situations like manufacturing or mining, so those standards didn't necessarily fit well to biological threats.

Anyway, if you ever search the medical literature on masks/respirators, you see TB mentioned a lot, and now you know why.

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#172563 - 05/01/09 07:30 PM Re: A little historical context [Re: Arney]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Probably the most likely path to infection is from hand to mouth/nose/eye contact. Most influenza/rhino viruses aren't strong enough to penetrate the epidermis directly, but will contaminate the hands fairly easily, and then we wipe our face or touch food or drink or some such that then contacts our mouth etc and then we get infected. Wearing a mask is actually beneficial as a barrier against self infection by keeping our hands out of our mouths, off our noses, etc. You are more prone to decontaminate first before doffing the mask this way, and greatly reduce the risk of infection. Wearing a mask and eye protection would be quite desirable in this respect. Of course airborn vectors are always a factor to consider (the theater scene from the movie "Outbreak" exemplifies such a problem), and in this way a mask and eye protection are a definite advantage as well.

Personally, if we had a really virulent disease running rampant, I would opt for an enviro suit (level B at the least), kinda like what the stormtroopers wear, only better sealed and more air conditioned. If we get an "Andromeda Strain" variant, I'll just go to ground and close the lid.
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The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
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#172571 - 05/01/09 10:10 PM Re: A little historical context [Re: benjammin]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Viruses don't travel alone. The current understanding is that they are almost always contained in body fluids. That if they are not protected by some sort of biological goo not created by the virus itself they die. These virus containing fluids can form an aerosol when people cough or sneeze that can drift on the air for a good distance. If you breath these droplets you get the virus. If you stop contact with these droplets by preventing them from being breathed or from physical contact after they are on surfaces you have stopped the virus.

Masks may be more effective at keeping the disease contained if used on an infected individual but they are not ineffective when worn by the healthy person. Ideally both would wear them. there is also the simple fact that many diseases can be spread by people who don't, may not ever, show symptoms.

Putting a mask on sick people can help. But seeing as they may have been shedding virus for 24 hours prior to their showing symptoms your closing the barn door after at least some of the horses have left.

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#172581 - 05/02/09 05:15 AM Re: A little historical context [Re: ]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
I just got 40 for my dad last month from amazon... $16/shipped for 20 can't beat that... He uses them for EVERYTHING. mowing the grass to sanding or dusting the house. Totally allergic to it all.

Me? They do not seal good AT ALL even if you contour them aroudn your nose you still get contaminated goop in.. sure they may have good filtration but not if it doesn't close up the gaps good wink

I have one of those 3M with the filters onthe side, and the plastic around tnhe face with the straps you adjust.. that thing is great! I use it for painting and other dirty jobs.
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#172591 - 05/02/09 03:41 PM Re: A little historical context [Re: Todd W]
urbansurvivalist Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/05
Posts: 127
Loc: Asheville, NC
I think for most people, most of the time(obviously not counting health care workers and such), wearing masks is simply not necessary at this point, and wearing them in public may lead to alarm or panic on others, and would probably cause a lot of uncomfortable stares and such. That said...

N95 respirators are great, they're multipurpous, cheap, never go bad, and you can keep them everywhere. My favorite are the flat pack, individually wrapped, 3M model 9211, which include an exhale valve for comfort. Note that for patients suspected of being infected, they should definitely NOT wear a mask with an exhale valve, as that defeats the purpose. The biggest flaw of disposable N95(or N99, p100, etc) masks is that they will not make a perfect seal with your face, but as noted above that's less of an issue if you only need to filter water droplets.

If you want/need a mask with a better seal, especially if you have facial hair, the best way to go is a reusable rubber respirator with replaceable filters. None of them are especially comfortable, especially in hot weather, though neither are disposable masks, especially cheap ones. I use the North 7700 silicone half-mask, which is about as light and comfortable as you can get when you use a lightweight, pancake style P100 filter. The highly flexible silicone creates a better seal than other types of rubber and way better than paper masks. You can find these online for under $20, and if you buy a lot of filters the best deal I've found is at AlexGS.com. I wear a respirator almost everyday at work(mainly for fiberglass, dust, and crawlspace nastiness), and these are the best I've used, though I use their full-face respirator more often. Not to get too off-topic, but I like the wide variety of filters and cartridges I can use with these.

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#172596 - 05/02/09 05:53 PM Re: N95 masks [Re: Arney]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: Arney
Originally Posted By: MDinana
Masks over the healthy do NOTHING. Viruses are small enough to pass through the pores. Since you need to touch the virus on a surface, or breath it in, just wash your hands.

I first read this last night and thought, "Wow, that's a rather provocative statement," so I slept on it.

It would be nice if I had been there to hear the entire context of the statement but that's not important. I do agree that hand washing is far more important to protect most of us from any flu bug than having a mask.

For average folks, better to stock up, carry, and frequently use hand sanitizer than stocking up on N95 masks if you're worried about the flu (among the other suggested steps, like cough etiquette).


You're right, it IS provocative. I'm actually suprised no one else called me on it. I think I'm just irked that this disease is getting so much attention - it's a "WOW!" factor in the media, with totally biased info. It's the flu. It's not like Ebola suddenly became airborne and we're getting 90% death rates.

Since you wanted the entire context, I pulled the quotation out of the email sent to our campus. If I get contacted to remove it, I will, but I'll also leave it anonymous for now. The info he is referencing is the bit about hand washing, staying home, stop picking your nose and rubbing your eyes, etc.

"One other piece of advice from an old pulmonologist, who dealt with these sorts of things on more than a few occasions, all of the above are the best that can be done. Wearing masks if you think YOU HAVE the Swine Flu helps you from spreading it to others. Wearing a mask to protect yourself does NOT help you from catching the flu from others, however. [ It has to do with the difference in size of the virus enveloped in moisture coming out of the diseased person and the virus particle floating freely in the environment dehydrating and becoming small enough to pass through all but HEPA filters. It gets pretty technical but it is pretty interesting (as I define interesting).] Bottom line if you are feeling well don't waste money on buying masks."

Here's some fun reading I saw just after hitting "Post"
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/05/02/worried.well.hospitals/index.html

The headline on CNN. com for the above article: "Emergency rooms hit with flu 'hysteria'"


Edited by MDinana (05/02/09 05:55 PM)

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#172605 - 05/02/09 08:48 PM Re: A little historical context [Re: ]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Ironically the "surgical masks' are not all that good at filtering air. Their main job is preventing sprayed spit from the wearer traveling to others. This they do pretty well.

On the other side a N-95 or better mask is fairly good job at filtering air. It isn't perfect but far better than nothing and a good bit better than a surgical mask. The ones with an exhalation valve are much more comfortable for hot weather or extended wear. A really big improvement. Trust me. Spend the extra money.

Either of these masks will offer some protection from sprayed spit coming at the wearer and will also serve to help keep the wearer's potentially contaminated hands away from their mouth and nose.

Using these two different masks some consideration needs to be taken to use the right one. A surgical mask will help prevent you from inhaling aerosols but not as well as a filter mask. A filter mask can help keep spit confined to the wearer but it is using a $7 mask to do what a $.50 surgical mask will do. And, it should be obvious, you wouldn't use a mask with an exhalation valve when the person is infected because the valve bypasses the filter when air is going out.

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#172610 - 05/02/09 10:00 PM Re: A little historical context [Re: Art_in_FL]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
I was using an N95 mask today. It specifically stated it was not rated for Asbestos or silica dust.

If cannot be used to keep me from getting asbestosis, then I don't see how it can stop a virus.

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