In response to public concern, the uses of Surgical Masks now span far outside of the medical and health care arena. The outbreak of such airborne diseases like influenza has fueled an ever-increasing demand for face masks. However, reports show regular masks provide little protection, as microbe-bearing particles are able to pass through them fairly easily.
Recently, manufacturers of surgical masks have been very busy developing a style of face mask called a “respirator”. They provide a much higher level of protection as the stringent filter is impregnated with a germicide that disinfects any particles it touches including microbes. They are in use domestically in the U.S. as well as internationally throughout millions of medical offices, hospitals, and clinics.
N99 Surgical respirators with a sealing adhesive provide much higher antimicrobial protection than traditional N95 Masks which secure to the face with an elastic band. When applying the face mask, it is important to combine comfort and functionality. If a surgical mask does not provide a higher level of protection then respirator should not be used.
It is no longer a secret that airborne diseases and infections are here to stay. Now the the big question is what could potentially happen if the avian flu mixes with swine flu, and are we prepared as a society to react?
There is an every growing danger this mixture could be going on outside the U.S. in developing countries with little regulation or guidelines for preparing these types of meats products safely. No matter what, whether its this new H1N1 or the avian flu virus, the long-term strategy for survival includes protecting people from contracting airborne infections in the first place.
There is fear among health care professionals recently that as the chance a microbe will emerge which spreads a highly contagious airborne infection to the general public grows every day. This likelihood exists today just as it did in 1918 when the deadly Spanish flu pandemic wiped out an estimated 50 million people.
Surgical Masks typically feature a loose-fitting filter which is applied to the face and secured with either elasticated ear loops or ties. The primary function is as a physical barrier to prevent contact with droplets of fluid, and not so much to stop airborne particles or harmful microbes.
N99 Respirators generally secure to the face using a latex-free adhesive, and have a much tighter mesh which filters out nearly all airborne particles. Also, they eliminate gaps around the nose and sides of the face. This adhesive does not allow any air to be inhaled with out passing through the N99 grade filter. It is super easy to breathe through them, and should be strongly considered when preparing for any type of pandemic.
For this reason it is recommended to include Surgical Masks with bacteria efficiency of 99% or greater in preparation for such an outbreak. Among other things to keep handy include medical gloves, hand sanitizers, and such items to keep promote a clean and sterile environment. Taking these types of precautions are the best way to combat the spread of airborne illness.