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#234346 - 10/24/11 05:56 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Quote:
The virus was also airborne.


I don't think that part was true. Yes, if you cough or sneeze at someone, they could inhale the virus, but I don't think it's likely that it would just waft around in the air.

Rule #1: Don't go out and expose yourself to it unnecessarily!

Sue

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#234354 - 10/24/11 07:15 PM Re: Contagion [Re: hikermor]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
There was a piece in the LA Times discussing at length the implausibilities presented in the film.

There's a difference between "implausible" and "scientifically not accurate". For example, turning dead people into walking zombies is scientifically untrue. Killing people dead in a day or so like in the movie is not the norm for most pandemics, but has happened before.

It's off topic to this thread, but if you'd like to start a new post listing what the LA Times writer objected to in the movie since I haven't seen that piece, please do and we can discuss those things and whether they are actually things to consider in a real pandemic.

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#234364 - 10/24/11 09:22 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
KenOTBC Offline
Stranger

Registered: 05/30/11
Posts: 19
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I read an article saying that the movie was generally accurate. There were scientific advisers central in writing the plot. Its certainly not a typical Hollywood blockbuster type of movie.

One part that didn't make sense was how difficult it was for people to generally find supplies, but most seemed to have face masks even months into the pandemic. I would rather be a bit more prepared.

There is a rather nasty virus in this part of the world called Hendra which moves from fruit bat droppings to horses, and from there has also been found in humans (its killed 4 people, 100% of those who caught it, within 2 weeks of contracting and it basically eats the brain from the inside. Nasty.) Its also been found in dogs (caught from horses). You have to have very close contact to catch it, vets are particularly susceptible, but these things can mutate. For sure a house fire is much more likely, but these things have happened in the past (Spanish Flu anyone?). I sometimes work with horses, and was in the vicinity of one outbreak. I don't think I was in any danger but it certainly makes you think.

Link to LA Times article http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/25/opinion/la-oe-orent-contagion-disease-20110925

Link to Hendra virus wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henipavirus

Its good to know that goggles and a mask can help, probably some sort of hand sanitiser too? And of course education on how the virus transmits and how to behave.

Having never owned any type of respirator, I have no idea how long they will last or be effective for. Can anyone give me some pointers on that? Will I need thousands (impractical for me) or would a box of 20 make a difference? Is it worth getting the sort of mask that also takes filters, would they last longer? Can you somehow clean and reuse masks? Do they have a shelflife?

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#234367 - 10/24/11 09:53 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: southern Cal
My thanks to you. While I was struggling to develop the link to the LA Times, you did connect to a very similar article. I will say that this movie does a bit better than the usual hollywood potboiler ( the seizure scenes were coached by medical personnel, I understand). But there are several unlikely events in the movie - the quick incubation period of the virus and the very rapid transmission, and a few other things. Perfectly acceptable for dramatic effect. I will note and do admit, that many subject experts do give the movie good marks for much of the way they handle the subject. So Contagion is better than average in this respect.

It is not that pandemics aren't real - a casual look at history shows the effects of the Black Death and the 1918 influenza epidemic. I just don't think that one needs to go out and get some exotic masks and bio suits on the basis of one movie.

I grew up during the Cold War. My quiet college town would have been a smoking crater if missiles had been launched - we were surrounded by ICBM silos deterring the Red Menace. Potential disaster, even if the odds are unlikely, is always just around the corner.

On the other hand, as I have gone through life, I have lost friends and associates. Still in high school, an acquaintance disproved a pet theory of his pertaining to Russian roulette in a very dramatic, messy way. I lost a good friend in an auto accident, and others to scuba and rock climbing mishaps. Another succumbed to diseases related to his alcoholism. Two very good associates died of cancer in their fiftieth decade - they were both consistent smokers. Another, the last time I saw him, complained that after fifteen miles of walking, his legs got sore. He was 85 at the time. He eventually expired at about 102.

So, while disasters my wipe us out, more mundane events and life style choices are more likely to lead to our demise. Let's wash our hands regularly, enjoy the time we have, and not take Hollywood entertainment too seriously.



Edited by hikermor (10/24/11 09:53 PM)
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#234369 - 10/24/11 10:32 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
BigToe Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 81
I pack N95 masks in my briefcase PSK and in my BOB, cars and family survival box. From a practical viewpoint for me, anything larger than a N95 mask becomes difficult to pack particularly in a EDC. As one poster pointed out, one of the most important functions is to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth. The airborne particles are important too but I believe the N95 will go a long way to block those as well.

I was overseas during the 2009 swine flu scare and spent about a half day searching the small French town I was in for N95 masks. I swore I wouldn't travel without one again. Spending time in an airport during an influenza scare is not very comfortable. That would likely be ground zero for contagion entry to a country.
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Men have become the tools of their tools.
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#234404 - 10/25/11 11:55 AM Re: Contagion [Re: ]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Izzy,

You have hit the salient points and would only add that the main reason a filtration mask works when the virus size is smaller than the pore size of a filter is due to the mode of transportation of many airborne viruses, which is by being attached to dust particles. This attachment is not by any actual action of the virus, but is due to electrostatic charges. The N95/N99 mask works because it is filtering out the dust particles with the virus attached.

Have worked in an infectious disease laboratory for more than 35 years, I can tell you that correct and effective use of any mask requires thought and some training, if it is to be anything more than just window dressing.

Pete

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#234408 - 10/25/11 12:26 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: KenOTBC
Will I need thousands (impractical for me) or would a box of 20 make a difference? Is it worth getting the sort of mask that also takes filters, would they last longer?

A box of 20 would likely not make any difference. Imagine trying to avoid catching the run of the mill cold this whole winter with just a box of 20. Remember, pandemics run for many weeks and months at a time. Well, it theoretically might work if you could stay home the entire time except for 20 quick trips into public, but how practical is that for most folks?

For the most part, I would argue that practically speaking, a respirator like an N95 provides minimal protection for your average person who isn't trained, fitted, and following a strict protocol on their use (including the proper removal and disposal of used masks). The reason that N95 masks don't really come with any instructions is because they are intended to be used as part of a whole fitting and training program provided as part of your work. That's why I listed those masks approved for use by the general public in my earlier reply.

There are just too many ways to mess it up and get exposed and for your average person who doesn't properly fit it and is just going to reuse a mask for too long until it's too soft to provide a good face seal or too moist to filter properly, etc. it's probably going to provide a false sense of security. If you're already a healthcare or lab worker and are trained and accustomed on the proper use of the respirators and change them often enough and combine them gloves, disposable gowns, etc., then the protection is higher, but even that is not foolproof.

Some may think that they'll just wear them in the highest risk situations so they don't need as many masks, like only when they're riding public transit to and from work. Statistically speaking, I suppose that reduces your chances of getting sick, but probably only just, I would think. Plenty of people at work could still infect you.

A half or full-face respirator with replaceable filter cartridges provides a much better face seal and protection, but the mask and a good supply of filters is not cheap, and that's not something that you can fold up small and tuck into your EDC kit. I don't know the shelf life of the cartridges, but none of them have an indefinite shelf life.

One alternative approach is to focus on preventing the sick people from infecting you, such as a sick family member you are taking care of. Surgical procedure masks--those flimsy paper masks surgeons or your dental hygienist wears--helps catch the tiny saliva aerosols a sick person emits when they cough or even from talking. These masks are cheap.

However, even this approach is far from foolproof. The incubation period of, say, influenza typically ranges from 1-4 days (from exposure to onset of symptoms) and you can infect others starting a day before you show symptoms. So, an infected person could pass it on to you before they even know they're sick and start wearing a procedure mask.

Assuming a raging pandemic bug doesn't burn itself out sooner, I would say you need at least a 6-9 month supply if you're going to try and rely on these masks. The idea is that you're basically trying to hold out until a crash program to develop a vaccine can be brought online. As you saw in the movie, first you have to figure out how to find a vaccine, and even if you skip the proper chain of research for safety and efficacy and start production right away, it takes many months to produce the vaccine in quantity.

Actually, during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, it was remarkable that we had vaccine available in the same year. That was quite a feat.

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#234440 - 10/25/11 09:19 PM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
KenOTBC Offline
Stranger

Registered: 05/30/11
Posts: 19
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
So Hikermore - you saying I shouldn't have bothered getting that earthquake shelter built after watching 2012? :-) Seriously I haven't just watched the movie and started to panic, but the link in the movie to bats made me think of the local Hendra virus and, as we all do on here, I want to get better educated and prepared for whatever life might throw at me.

Thanks for all the replies folks. Its good to know that the N95 masks I was planning on getting as smoke protection could help (if used properly). If you have any links to a good procedure for their use I would appreciate it, I did find this http://www.health.gov.au/internet/panflu/publishing.nsf/Content/64A8272B09D4D5D4CA25781E000F0A8B/$File/DVD_Script_Final%2029-1-07.pdf

As I always find by reading this site, its mainly not the gear you have but the knowledge in how to use it thats key. This enables you to improvise when gear isn't available.

I certainly won't be putting a pandemic at the top of my 'threat' list right now, but I will buy a bigger box of masks than I was intending.

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#234452 - 10/25/11 11:31 PM Re: Contagion [Re: Arney]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Quote:
Well, it theoretically might work if you could stay home the entire time except for 20 quick trips into public, but how practical is that for most folks?


Does that mean if there is a pandemic, you're still going to go into work where the employees are dropping like flies, and down to the bar on Fri/Sat to pick up some girl, continue to do all your usual shopping, , etc?

IOW, you would treat it as the usual winter flu?

I don't know... hitting the local meat market (not butcher) on the weekend in a gas mask sounds both funny and ludicrous.

But perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

Sue

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#234454 - 10/26/11 12:09 AM Re: Contagion [Re: KenOTBC]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: KenOTBC
So Hikermore - you saying I shouldn't have bothered getting that earthquake shelter built after watching 2012? :-)


Yes, it seems that you are overreacting, but perhaps we are not communicating well.

N95 masks are very good items to keep on hand. I have quite a few, using them regularly on excavations. They are extremely versatile and are broadly useful. I would expect to be using them regularly when the next earthquake turns my house to dusty rubble or the next fire turn it to smoking ruins.
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