Jump to content

Why We Need to Upgrade Our Face Masks—and Where to Get Them


Recommended Posts

How do you tell which masks are best and least expensive. Links in the article. My grandchildren, a grandson age 5 and a beautiful granddaughter aged 3 flew to Germany with my son and DIL, both BSRN nurses, she a Surgical ICU nurse, and my son a recovery room nurse. They took civil service positions, neither are military, at Landstuhl Army Medical center in Germany September 2020. Both children wore their masks, without their noses sticking out, and without whining or fighting them. If they can for a 12 hour flight I have no sympathy for spoiled three year olds in adult bodies throwing tantrums and saying NO! to everything asked of them.

Scientific American - 30 September 2021

Excerpt:

"High-quality respirators such as N95s and K95s are now widely available and provide the best protection against COVID, according to experts. Why aren’t more people wearing them?

A wealth of evidence has shown that wearing a face mask helps prevent people from spreading the virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, to others and from becoming sick themselves. But there has been less guidance from public health officials on what kind of masks provide the best protection.

Early on in the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization told the public not to wear N95 respirators, a type of mask that is made from high-tech synthetic fibers and provides a high level of protection against virus-laden airborne particles called aerosols. That was because there was then a shortage of such masks—and health care workers desperately needed them. At the same time, both agencies said there was little risk of aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. They recommended cloth masks or other homemade face coverings that can stop some relatively large virus-carrying droplets even as it became clear that SARS-CoV-2 commonly spreads through aerosols—and as the supply of better-quality masks increased.

There is now a cornucopia of high-filtration respirator-style masks on the market, including N95s, Chinese-made KN95s and South Korean–made KF94s. They have been widely available and relatively affordable for months and provide better protection than cloth or surgical masks. Yet it was not until September 10 that the CDC finally updated its guidance to say the general public could wear N95s and other medical-grade masks now that they are in sufficient supply.

Scientific American spoke with several experts on aerosol transmission—some of whom have tested various masks available on the market—and they agree that health authorities should strongly recommend people wear well-fitted, high-filtration masks.

“A year ago we could say that we were concerned about shortages for health care workers, so we were telling people to make your cloth mask, and any mask is better than no mask,” says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer and aerosol science expert at Virginia Tech. But given what scientists know now—especially with the virus’s highly transmissible Delta variant spreading and people spending more time indoors in schools, for example—“I think the CDC should be recommending high-performance masks for everyone when they’re in these risky indoor situations,” she says.

What Makes a Good Mask?

When it comes to mask effectiveness, the most important parameters are filtration, fit and comfort. Filtration generally refers to the percentage of particles the mask material blocks. For example, an N95 filters at least 95 percent of airborne particles. But that does little good if gaps around the mask let air in freely. A well-fitted mask should sit snugly against the face and over the chin, with no gaps around the nose or mouth. Comfort is also an extremely important metric: a mask does no good if people simply find it intolerable to wear.

A good mask is “the most important defense we have” against COVID, says aerosol expert Kimberly Prather, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, San Diego.

There are a number of national standards for respirator quality. The U.S. gold standard, N95s, are certified by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for how they have to fit people in work settings (such as in hospitals). But there is no official standard for N95 use by the general public. The European equivalent of the N95 is the FFP2 respirator, which filters at least 94 percent of particles. China has the KN95, and South Korea has the KF94. All provide excellent filtration, so it really comes down to which fits an individual best and is most comfortable.

Which Masks are Best?

In the absence of more specific guidance from health authorities such as the CDC as to which brands of respirators and other masks provide the best protection, some skilled amateurs have  stepped in to fill the gap. Aaron Collins, aka “Mask Nerd,” is a mechanical engineer at Seagate Technology with a background in aerosol science. In his free time, he makes YouTube videos in which he tests and reviews high-filtration masks made by various manufacturers. Collins says he does not earn any money from mask manufacturers or his videos themselves—he considers them a service and wants them to be objective.

Where to Find Legitimate Masks

An issue with commercially available high-filtration masks is that they may not come from reputable suppliers. The CDC’s Web site warns that about 60 percent of KN95 respirators available in the U.S. are counterfeit. To find ones that are legitimate, Prather recommends the Web site Project N95. Masks can also be ordered directly from suppliers such as Bona Fide Masks, which sells KN95s made by Powecom. “That’s the one people swear by,” Prather says. They cost around $1 each. DemeTECH sells N95s for around $4 apiece, as well as other types of masks.

Reusing Masks

One reason people may be reluctant to use KN95s and similar masks is because they are usually considered disposable. But several experts say they can in fact be worn multiple times. “You can probably reuse it until it becomes visibly damaged or soiled,” Marr says. Collins’s amateur testing suggests mask can be used for up 40 hours with no decrease in their filtration efficacy (he recommends using them within six months of opening a package). The virus likely does not survive long on these masks, but it is not a bad idea to have a few in rotation, reusing one every three days or so, Collins says."

More in the article written for the lay person with links:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-need-to-upgrade-our-face-masks-and-where-to-get-them/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=health&utm_content=link&utm_term=2021-10-04_featured-this-week&spMailingID=70703616&spUserID=NTAzMDg3NDk0MDIzS0&spJobID=2220354682&spReportId=MjIyMDM1NDY4MgS2

Hope that helps

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been an advocate of good masks for a long time.  Had these quality masks been available and recommended I believe it would have saved lives.  If one is going to go to the trouble and expense it only makes sense to wear a good mask.  The one draw back to the better masks, at least for me is if I am doing something strenuous it is hard to catch my breath.   Another slight irritant is these need to be worn tightly to eliminate leaks.  In time this can be uncomfortable. In any case being vaccinated, wearing a quality mask and social distancing is about as good of protection one could have.  With that protection I am relatively confident I can run to the store or whatever but we still don't eat out and avoid crowds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, markandkim said:

Try a mk 5 gas mask.

Seems overkill when I can get 120 hours out of three masks rotated for a buck or so each. But if that is your choice I'll respect it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Randyretired said:

I have been an advocate of good masks for a long time.  Had these quality masks been available and recommended I believe it would have saved lives.  If one is going to go to the trouble and expense it only makes sense to wear a good mask.  The one draw back to the better masks, at least for me is if I am doing something strenuous it is hard to catch my breath.   Another slight irritant is these need to be worn tightly to eliminate leaks.  In time this can be uncomfortable. In any case being vaccinated, wearing a quality mask and social distancing is about as good of protection one could have.  With that protection I am relatively confident I can run to the store or whatever but we still don't eat out and avoid crowds.

Agreed on all counts but since I only wear them in public indoor places like the Commissary at Peterson Space Force Base, or COSTCO it is not like when I was scrubbing in for surgeries all day or when working Medical ward with infectious cases having to don and remove full PPE all day long. (Mask Gown gloves, booties, shield and hand wash/sanitizing.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

Masks are intended for preventing the wearer from spreading the virus if they are a carrier, they are not intended to prevent catching the virus. At least that is what Dr. Fauci said  20 months ago.

Things have changed greatly in 20 months.  Science is always learning and adding, deleting, changing as more things are learned.  This was all new 20 months ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

  This was all new 20 months ago.

And 20 months ago the best masks were in high demand and short supply. Like most things that experience a sudden increase in demand, the supply has caught up with demand and more are being made. It should be easy to grasp the reason we were asked to use home-made masks, leaving the limited supply of N95 masks for medical staffs and first responders. Science is an ever changing thing as we learn more. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Big Rick said:

And anyone who disagrees gets the post deleted! So much for discussion 

They do when admin feels that they are political in nature. However if this statement were correct, it would also have been removed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Randyretired said:

When we received our booster shots at the health dept. they required medical grade masks.  Other masks including cloth masks were not acceptable.  Some airlines are also requiring high quality masks such as N95 masks.

 

 

Yep, a year ago we were told cloth masks were the best option. Today we are told cloth masks are not adequate.

I have a handheld UV light to sanitize my 95 mask for reuse, I got the idea from my optometrist office, that's how they sanitize theirs and their exam rooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Randyretired said:

If I think a mask is warranted it will be an N95.  Why wear something inferior?

Just for a matter of thought.  I have a large gap between my 2 upper front teeth kind of like Micheal Strahan on Good Morning America.  As much as I try not to by keeping distance and facing slightly to one side or the other I occaisionally have some spit get loose.  Would you prefer to have me wear even the cheapest piece of cloth or netting or stand face to face and let what ever happens take place.  Especially if I was infectious with anything and did not know it. Just an example and your choice. 

I do agree that a quality mask is the best choice. No question or debate about that.

Edited by bigjim
if you can believe it or not more bad spelling and grammer. I try.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, bigjim said:

Just for a matter of thought.  I have a large gap between my 2 upper front teeth kind of like Micheal Strahan on Good Morning America.  As much as I try not to by keeping distance and facing slightly to one side or the other I occaisionally have some spit get loose.  Would you prefer to have me wear even the cheapest piece of cloth or netting or stand face to face and let what ever happens take place.  Especially if I was infectious with anything and did not know it. Just an example and your choice. 

A good example as to why I wear an N95 mask.  Some others won't be masked at all or improperly wear a mask or wear an ineffective mask or...  An N95 mask provides excellent protection for the person wearing it and those around them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/14/2021 at 7:31 PM, Randyretired said:

A good example as to why I wear an N95 mask.  Some others won't be masked at all or improperly wear a mask or wear an ineffective mask or...  An N95 mask provides excellent protection for the person wearing it and those around them.

Good thoughts guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...