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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

WHO: Surgical Masks Adequate

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CupcakeMom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CupcakeMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: WHO: Surgical Masks Adequate
    Posted: January 25 2006 at 6:08pm

     Osterholm on Oprah yesterday mentioned N95 masks and said surgical masks are not adequate protection against H5N1.  The WHO has issued a 'clarification' of this issue (link below). 

     While they previously recommended only NIOSH-approved masks rated N95 or higher (filter out particles down to 0.1 microns in size, like the H5N1 virus) they now recommend only surgical masks (which filter out particles 0.3 microns or larger) which the H5N1 virus conceivably could pass through.  They recommend surgical masks even when taking care of an infected patient.   They only recommend the N95 masks for healthcare personel doing an actual procedure on an infected person that would stir up and 'aerosolize' very fine particles into the air (like during suctioning of the airway). 

     The justification for this is that research shows the virus is actually spread contained in mucus particles, which are larger than 0.3 microns.

     Masks are going to be in short supply as governments and everybody else stockpiles these.  If N95 masks are hard to come by, or just plain too expensive, please consider surgical masks from a supply house (Google: surgical masks).  Ours were 50 for less than $20, and probably all the protection you'd really need in a mask.

WHO link: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/influenza/Mask %20Clarification10_11.pdf

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swankyc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 25 2006 at 6:45pm

CCMom, Did you hear specifically WHY he said surgical masks are inadequate? 

He said they are inadequate because they do not seal on your face and you are breathing the flu contaminated particle through the side of the mask.

I'll post the link again for an N95 type mask that does seal on your face. The replacement filters and the mask are very reasonably priced.

http://store.internationalsafetyusa.com/disposable.html

Again, the mask is in the lower left corner and the replacement filters are second down on the right.  The small size fits the face of my 4 and 6 year old boys.

 

No need to bug them for delivery, both orders took about a week each.



Edited by swankyc
I'm not afraid, I'm paranoid. Dont talk too loud, they are listening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 25 2006 at 7:21pm

CCMom,

Thanks for the post!  I have both N95 & procedure masks.  It's important for people to realize that even if they can't afford the NIOSH masks or can't get them as supplies dry up that the procedure masks may be a reasonable alternative.  I figure some protection is better than none.

I thought Dr Osterholm was referring to procedure masks meant to protect patient from the doctor's germs, not the other way around and that the fact that his/her breath was venting out the sides as s/he leans over your opened body part, HIS germs were still infecting you.  Please correct me if I am remembering this wrong.

I do know that procedure masks aren't as effective as NIOSH, I'm not trying to say they are, but there may be a time and place that they would be "enough" protection and you could conserve your N95's (or better).  After all, there will rapidly come a time when we will not be able to replenish our stocks.

Then there is the whole issue of YOU walking around with a NIOSH mask when everyone else has a kerchief tied over their face.  Don't know about you, but I don't know that I would want to be singled out as someone who is well prepared. 

Just points to ponder.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CupcakeMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 25 2006 at 7:52pm

Swankyc,

     I posted this topic because I want you and others using this site to know that the World Health Organization changed it's recommendation from N95 masks to surgical masks for routine care of people infected with H5N1.  The Health and Human Services Pandemic Plan also recommends just surgical masks as well, again recommending N95 masks for procedures on infected patients (link: http://www.hhs.gov/pandemicflu/plan/sup4.html#care ).  Finally, even Osterholm's own website (he heads CIDRAP) quotes the recommendation for surgical masks unless doing procedures (link: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/panflu/bi ofacts/panflu.html ).

     I think we all agree that N95 masks would be greater protection, or even N100 masks for that matter.  But just as many people who search this site will never be able to obtain Tamiflu before a pandemic, many will not be able to afford or obtain N95 masks as well.  If the pandemic lasts 18 months or longer, who among us will have enough masks of any kind to last that long?

     I heard Osterholm's statement about the fit of the masks.  Nevertheless, I have worn surgical masks in a surgical internship, and to do autopsies of patients with infectious diseases as a pathologist.  You can get a decent fit with a surgical mask too---so don't give in to fear if you can't get the N95's.  The simple surgical masks are worth stockpiling if you can afford/obtain them. 

     After all, the Osterholm's CIDRAP organization feels that wearing of surgical masks by the public helped decrease spread of the SARS virus in Hong Kong: ("Social distancing measures and wearing masks in public apparently decreased influenza and other respiratory infections in Hong Kong during the 2003 SARS epidemic. About 76% of Hong Kong residents wore masks during that period. ")

Take hope in the fact that surgical masks are still a worthwhile option.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CupcakeMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2006 at 8:02am

Cheap source of masks --they deliver quickly and have excellent service-- have placed a few orders with them for my medical office already:

http://www.masksnmore.com/

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2006 at 8:34am
Between the lines..still kinda funny they would come out and reccomend the changes...Whats UP....they always throw these little between the lines wacky things at us..if there was not going tobe a pandemic why worry about the change...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote janetn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2006 at 11:36am
They said it out because they know that there are not enough N95 masks, not even for healthcare. What are they supposed to do? Now hospital bean counters can tell the staff oh you dont need a N95 mask and back it up with WHOs recomendation - this is becoming criminal

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2006 at 3:41am
Ont. nurses want better masks for avian flu

Updated Sun. Mar. 19 2006 11:33 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff

Ontario nurses say the federal government wasted money by purchasing
standard surgical masks incapable of blocking avian flu.
"It was two of our nurses who died during the (SARS outbreak)," Lesley
Bell, of the Ontario Nurses Association, told CTV News. "We're just saying
we don't want to go through that again. Let's make sure that the nurses
and health care workers who are on the front lines are protected."

The government bought 4.5 million standard masks for
about 10 cents each. Ontario nurses say the masks are inadequate
protection against avian flu, and the government needs to buy N95
surgical masks at about 10 times the cost. Nurses demanded and
received N95 masks three years ago during Toronto's SARS outbreak.


The World Health Organization recommends the N95 mask as protection
against both SARS and avian flu.

The mask has become popular in the United States, where they are mailed
to relatives living in countries affected by the virus.

"They came in a bought cases at a time, and they would ship them home
to their families," Home Depot worker Jake Zacharias said.The
government says there is no evidence to show N95 masks are more
effective at blocking the virus than standard surgical masks.

"There is certainly confusion, in the health care community, and globally,
about how this disease is transmitted, and what the optimal method of
protection is," said Dr. Arlene King, a microbiologist at the Public Health
Agency of Canada.

The N95 masks are manufactured in Quebec, but have to be pre-fitted for
every user and can only be worn for a few hours.

Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist, said that N95 masks also become
useless if the user touches them, adding another problem.

"In some circumstances they may be no better than a surgical mask, and
in some cases they may even be worse," she said.

However, Ontario's nurses say the government is simply interested in
saving money, not which mask is more effective.Meanwhile, Israel
confirmed its first outbreak of the H5N1 strain Sunday the worst
mutation of the virus.




http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060319 /
bird_flu_060319/20060319?hub=Health
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote willow41 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2006 at 4:20am
buy your n95 masks now.  the surgical masks would have to provide an airtight fit to protect you from the virus.  i've tried n95 masks on. they provide a seal type of fit to your face.  don't you think it's a little coincidental they're saying this now, as news coverage has picked up.  why didn't they say this immediately following Oprah's show, which by the way aired in January? I think they don't want people ordering up the last few reserves of the n95 masks. it's b***sh*t.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2006 at 7:09am
HELP: Somebody posted on Friday or Saturday a mask-vendor who accepted Paypal. Somehow I didn't bookmark it and now can't find the post either. Can anybody help??? TIA
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rocky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2006 at 4:25pm
Hi, we have very good prices on masks and could accept Paypal, although not through our websites. Just take a look at what we offer, then give us a call or email us (info on website) and we can take your order and you can pay via Paypal. Hope that helps. Rocky

Originally posted by Femvet Femvet wrote:

HELP: Somebody posted on Friday or Saturday a mask-vendor who accepted Paypal. Somehow I didn't bookmark it and now can't find the post either. Can anybody help??? TIA

    
Prepare for the Unexpected!
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http://www.homeemergencyusa.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote asatrape Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2006 at 4:37pm
And look on ebay.... I found some very good deals on there!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GoveOutlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 14 2011 at 12:51pm
Hi, seems like you all may be happy I found your site. We sell NIOSH approved N95 Particulate Respirators and standard earloop surgical masks. We accept Paypal as well as Google checkout. If you need pay some other way please call us at 904-325-6677 or email us at gloveoutlet@gmail.com we would be happy to accommodate you. I can almost guarantee that you will not find a cheaper price for these masks on the internet or anywhere else for that matter. We are not an affiliate or drop shipper, we have direct connections with the manufacturers and happen to have an overstock of these masks. They are being sold right around cost. Buy cases of 240 Ambitex N95 Particulate Respirators ($79.36) and cases of 500 Ambitex Earloop Surgical Masks (18.70) from our website here: Disposable Face Masks I hope this helps, please don't hesitate to call us or e-mail us if you have any problems. You can find us on Amazon and Ebay by searching for Glove Outlet but it is cheaper to buy direct from our web site. Free shipping on orders over $100.
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