With the outbreak and rapid spread of the CoronaVirus, it's a good time to prepare for the possibility it might spread overseas. Hundreds of thousands of people are feverishly doing all they can to remain safe in that event.
Companies that sell hand sanitizer, face masks, and high-grade respirators are rapidly selling out in all of the above categories. People who can't buy face masks are making do with carefully carved grapefruit rinds and cabbage leaves. However, are these sorts of protective devices worth it? Will they protect you and your loved ones in the event of a pandemic?
Can You Protect Yourself from the CoronaVirus?
A simple, hospital face mask is not regarded as an effective defense against airborne pathogens. It doesn't grip the face very securely and generally doesn't guard effectively against droplets floating in the air after someone coughs or sneezes. If a hospital mask doesn't work, it goes without saying that homebrew masks won't do the job either.
However, an N95 Respirator is a different story. The international medical community regards N95 Respirators as a reliable defense against airborne pathogens. The rigid construction and tight seal of a proper respirator make all the difference.
Use Your N95 Respirator Properly
The effectiveness of respirators hinges on the tight seal that exists between the respirator and your face. They're not effective for young children, unfortunately, because they don't fit children as well and children are prone to removing them out of minor discomfort. Additionally, facial hair degrades their effectiveness; be ready for a shave if the time comes around. But as long as you get a proper fit and have a clean-shaven face, an N95 Respirator will block 95% of tiny particles.
Where to Find an N95 Respirator
N95 Respirators are selling out online; at best, they're facing huge markups. Head to your local hardware store and medical supply stores for your best shot at finding one that fits properly. Make sure it's labeled "N95", so you can be sure you're getting a quality respirator.