Safeguarding Against the Flu Using Face Masks

While birds host the avian influenza virus, other species, including humans, can be infected by a specific subtype as well. The virus is approached directly by contaminated animals, often domestic poultry but often wild birds may also kill hunters, native people and so on. Indirectly the infection may enter the human environment through virus-infected edibles, polluted water, items, air , food, etc., through body secretions or excretions of infected birds. In situations of influenza or pandemic nature, the flu virus being infectious, the pollution in the environment may be relatively high. Infected people take the flu virus with them everywhere they go and transmit it in the air and through their nasal secretions and body discharges on things that they contact.You can learn more at visit site .

Personal Protective Equipment or PPE as it is known are devices meant for usage by health workers while they operate in polluted areas. The most commonly produced are nose and mouth respirators, called ‘masks.’ Bird flu masks are very specific about the microscopic nature of the bird flu virus and are not easily filtered out of the environment using conventional filters.

Such masks are designed according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines. The filters used in the masks are based on filtering efficiency and come under 3 categories, namely Type 95, Type 99 and Type 100. The proportion of microscopic particles (0.3 micron wide) filtered out by these filters is 95%, 99% and 99.7% respectively. The filters are also categorized based on deterioration of the filter efficiency and are thus labelled as N (non-oil resistant), R (oil resistant) and P (oil proof). Before being approved for sale, each individual mask is tested in laboratory setups. N95 models, though, are removable and can not be washed.

The most popular are N-95 respirators which have been certified by NIOSH (also known as Filtering Facepieces) as being successful in significantly reducing the risk of exposure to airborne viruses such as SARS or Avian Influenza. The use of masks is recommended for people working in high-contamination situations, such as patient care workers or field workers involved in the destruction of the sources of infection, etc.

Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs), another group of very strong, secure masks. They ‘re more successful in providing more security than N-95 masks. These are used by people, like people with facial hair, who can not wear N-95 masks. This mask operated by the battery has a face piece with tube and filters for breathing.

Although no mask is a guarantee against influenza infection, the risks of infection from airborne viruses are dramatically cut. However, it needs to be seen that the masks’ capacities decline from use over time. Aerosols weaken the filters much further as found in the operating conditions. Bird flu masks can also not be used with 100 percent confidence, but as one of the prevention methods only. In addition, there are guidelines to follow whilst (re)using such PPE.