While the Pandemic is largely under control through the vaccines, variants continue to pop up and spread. Even a secondary vaccine may not protect you. So what will? Standard masks do nothing to protect you. They do protect others to an extent. However N95 masks, when worn and maintained properly, will filter out Anthrax. If you are going to wear a mask, you might as well wear one designed to protect you as well as others.
Today, N95, KN95 and the FM2.5 filters are easy to get, through Amazon if you like, but www.wish.com seems to have the best selection of masks, goggles and other PPE items.
If you are wearing a mask to protect yourself, the goal is to stop droplets containing the virus from reaching your mouth, nose and eyes. Those are the three vulnerable points, where the virus can enter through bodily fluids. Air will travel by the easiest path. Gaps on either side of your nose, by your cheeks or wearing a mask under your nose will allow air and the virus, to travel past the mask. The goal is to create a seal so when you breathe in, air travels through the mask so the filtration will capture the virus before it reaches you.
- Vented vs. Non-Vented – vented masks are easier to breathe through. When you exhale, the vent or vents open, not restricting your breathing. While vented masks protect you, they do not protect others from you. It’s good to have a non-vented self-contained mask as a backup in case you’re in a situation where it is required, or if you actually have a virus so it won’t reach others.
- Separate Filter or Self Contained – While self-contained masks are simpler, the rule of thumb is 20 uses, then either the mask, or the filter, should be replaced. Masks with replaceable filters tend to be more practical and stylish. Find one that is comfortable, then replace its filter after 20 uses.
Replaceable Filter, Dual Vented masks are the most comfortable. Metal clips at the bridge of the nose shapes it properly, and the vents go completely through the mask so easiest to breathe through. They are generally light and the Velcro attached versions are more comfortable than the ones that go over the ears.
Non-Vented masks with Replaceable Filters are available and if you need Non-Vented, this is a more stylish option than the standard medical version.
Goggles – depending on the situation, unsealed or sealed. Walking outdoors or in a public area, unsealed goggles are reasonable. They have a sufficient chance of stopping the virus from entering through your eyes. When running, driving with the windows or top down, riding a bike or motorbike, air circulates faster and can be drawn to you. Better to wear sealed goggles in these cases.
Caring For A Mask
Just replacing the mask or filter every 20 uses isn’t enough. A mask should be maintained. After each use:
- Spray the inside and outside of the mask with Lysol or Colloidal Silver.
- Place the mask in direct sunlight for 2 hours or in a UV Light Box for 8 minutes.
The masks job is to keep the virus from reaching you. If it is doing that effectively, the virus, if present, gets trapped in the filter within the mask. The filter, in a replaceable or self-contained mask, is mainly activated charcoal, similar to a water filter. When the charcoal in a charcoal water filter is used up, it no longer filters out impurities. It’s the same with N95 variety masks. The charcoal filtration gets used up after about 20 uses. Replacing the mask or filters regularly, treating and disinfecting it with each use is the best way to assure it will do its job protecting you.
Links for all of the items mentioned above. You can search for them on many other websites these days. Most you can find on Amazon as well. Note: some dual-vented, replaceable filter masks have both ear loops and Velcro that attaches behind the neck. Most find Velcro only is more comfortable.
- Self-Contained, Non-Vented – $19.69 for 100Buy Now
- Self-Contained, Vented – $17.99 for 10 Buy Now
- Replaceable Filter, Non-Vented – $4.00 w/10 filters https://www.wish.com/search/n95%20mask%20replaceable%20filter/product/5ff2e4af68a9a23ea47e48fd?share=web
- 5 Filters – $11.00 for 100 https://www.wish.com/search/pm2.5%20mask%20filter/product/5fe6dc10e5ee98818c45e204?share=web
- Replaceable Filter, Vented – $7.00 w/3 filters Buy Now
- 5 Filters – $14.00 for 20 https://www.wish.com/search/pm2.5%20mask%20filter/product/5e5cda886fa96d9150ee063f?share=web
- Colloidal Silver (put full strength in a clean spray bottle) – $34.93 Buy Now
- UV Light Box – $18.89 – put wallet, glasses, headsets, phone and masks in for 8 minutes and the ultra violet light disinfects the contents. The one below is size of a make-up case and will hold many items. Check the dimensions as many UV Light Boxes are just big enough for your cell phone. Buy Now