Protection Against Deadly Airborne Infectious Diseases

Protection Against Deadly Airborne Infectious Diseases
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The CDC does not recommend common surgical masks to protect against airborne infectious diseases (such as the flu, SARS, etc.) as these masks are designed primarily to protect the patient from infection caused by the healthcare worker.  These masks help prevent bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer's mouth and nose from infecting the patient.

Unlike a surgical mask, an N-95 mask is designed to provide protection for the wearer, but these masks still only provide 95% protection again airborne particles.  This is the meaning of “95” in N-95.  The N means “not oil resistant”…so with time, as the mask is exposed to skin oils or other oils, it will become less effective.  Additionally, the N-95 will not provide 95% protection unless fitted property.  95 masks can leak around the sides unless fitted properly.

Worse, without eye protection, N-95 masks worn by alone are not very effective overall, as the pathogen can easily enter through the eyes.  Simple eye protection, like safety glasses, are not enough unless the eye is sealed from airborne particles.  Even goggles will not provide full protection as they must be ventilated to prevent them from fogging up.  These means that the only truly effective means of protection from airborne pathogens is a full face mask (gas mask, or more properly “Air Purifying Respirator), which seals the mouth, eyes and nose completely inside the mask.  A properly designed mask will also use air drawn in through the filter to ventilate the mask lens to keep it from fogging (Avon’s C50, FM50, and FM53 performs this way).  While an N-95 mask or other protective equipment is better than nothing at all, a full face mask APR will provide much better protection.  When a more fatal strain of the flu (like the Spanish Flu) or some other disease eventually erupts, be prepared for the worst.

Avon FM50

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