Avian Flu Personal Protection

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Surgical masks

[To see pics legend drag pointer; to enlarge and see full size double click on a pic; pics can be saved, as the full page]

Surgical masks are the first line of efficient disposable respiratory protection. Avoid the gauze style thick masks, always worn by Asian people. They only stop the saliva droplets, and become damp quickly. Even worn tight to the face, hair up, even if they better fit the flat facial type of the inhabitants.

Light paper procedure masks, as worn by the girl on the right of the second pic below, must be avoided, even to wear in public places. They leak, become damp quickly, and do not filter much.
Surgical masks have a color code, blue or green most times; they are fit with tie on straps, not earloops, the outside of the mask is coated against fluid projections, but these masks are not particulate masks. They are efficient to prevent someone from transmitting germs, and protect against damp droplets. The metal nose strip must be moulded to the nose, the straps must be tightly attached behind the head, but these masks are not air tight and can offer side leakage. A common view during Sars outbreak.
Since there was a shortage of particulate respirators, many healthcare workers in Asia doubled or even tripled their surgical masks, to offer a better protection against infection.


  • At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Freedom said…

    Anita: Thank you for your informative post about transmission of viruses, etc. We are preparing to purchase masks and your post broadened our understanding of precautions to take.


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