So, face masks seem a little paranoid. But in case of airborne illnesses, and potential pandemics, a N95 certified mask could be incredibly useful, especially in crowded, urban areas. According to the CDC, a N95, “Protects from exposure to airborne particles and barrier to splashes, droplets, and sprays. In a healthcare setting, protects from exposure to biohazards including viruses and bacteria.”
Please see all our notes: These particular masks are FDA approved for " use by the general public in public health medical emergencies." But they might not fit children well, so consider buying extra sets that are sized small.
Mask, Particulate Respirator, N95 certified
WHERE TO BUY
Importance: Important — esp. if you live in urban areas.
Bottom line: A barrier from airborne illnesses, and potentially helpful in smoky situations.
Recommended for: Apartments, shetlers, go-bag.
No. of units recommended: These are disposable. At least 10 per adult and child.
Be aware: Many factors. See our field notes section, please.
These masks are designed to keep out airborne illnesses. The flu, at a minimum, but worse things if a pandemic might spread. The "N95" code means that they block at least 95 percent of very small particles. This ability to filter out .3 micron particles is one of the major differences between a regular facemask, surgeon’s mask, and a N95 respirator.
These are single-use items. We've worn them, and they are hot and sticky and not at all comfortable for long periods of time. You should buy a "small" size for children.
These particular Nextel masks are specifically approved for by the FDA "use by the general public in public health medical emergencies." (The Nextel is one of the 3M products.) For a full list of approved masks, see the FDA Masks and N95 Respirators section of their site.
This model doesn’t have an exhalation valve — a desirable feature as far as comfort. It makes breathing easier and keeps you cooler. In the very helpful CDC section on respirators, the CDC says that, “Respirators with exhalation valves can be used in a healthcare setting when it is not important to maintain a sterile field (an example of an acceptable practice would be when taking the temperature or blood pressure of a patient). Respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field is required (e.g., during an invasive procedure in an operating or procedure room) because the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field.”
You can buy masks with ventilators on Amazon and other sites.