N95 Respirator – Highly Vouched Swine Flu Mask
Those planning on investing in a face mask for protection against the H1N1 swine flu, might just find the N95 respirator mask adeptly matching up to their expectations.
This was suggested in a novel study that showed that regular non-reusable surgical masks offered no protection to the health care employees from swine flu or other viral infections. On the contrary, N95 masks provided major safeguard against flu infection.
Scientist Raina Maclntyre, MD, Ph D, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at the University of South Wales, who has been involved in the study stated that the surgical masks could be effectual for the average individual who isn’t facing that much exposure to contagions as compared to health care employees, though opting for the N95 mask would always be deemed appropriate.
Though more pricey, the N95 respirator masks fit more snugly and compactly around the mouth and nose area as compared to the regular surgical masks. When worn appropriately, they sift out 95% of fine particles, though this isn’t simple to do in a residence setting.
Maclyntyre pointed out to the fact that surgical masks had no effectiveness in the health care situation and that N95 masks must be the standardised protection tendered to health care employees.
The study helmed by Maclntyre was presented the yearly Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. This comes at a time when recently the Institute of Medicine presented its report that advocated the fact that fit-tested N95 respirators must be mandatorily used by all health care workers.
The current study was undertaken on 1,936 health care workers at twenty-four hospitals spread across Beijing. Majority of the candidates were arbitrarily allotted surgical masks, fit-tested N95 masks or non fit-tested N95 masks. The candidates wore the masks during each shift for a month’s duration, all through the previous year’s cold and flu season.
Additionally, there was a comparison set comprising of those hospital workers that had a choice of not wearing surgical or any masks at all.
Maclntyre explained that in China, several employees find the notion of not wearing masks highly objectionable, so the researchers picked the comparison set from hospitals wherein the usage of masks was least likely.
In the time span of one month of the study, the scientists kept tabs on the number of persons that contracted any infectious diseases or being symptomatic. Those detected were tested for viral and bacterial infectious agents.
The outcome revealed that surgical masks were seen to be majorly ineffectual in safeguarding against infections or ailments.
Conversely, the N95 masks were noted to have an efficiency rate of 56% against lab-verified respiratory viral infections and were 75% effective in protecting against proven influenza. The fit-tested N95 masks did not appear to offer greater defence than the non fit-tested N95 masks.
Maclntyre has however recommended fit testing stating that it was a criterion also needed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.
The N95 face masks are priced at 10 to 60 dollars a box depending on the mask manufacturer and the model type. The N95 masks are of the disposable form much like surgical masks and intended for single use.