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Swine Flu H1N1, Face Masks and Duct Tape

April 29, 2009 by Brian Brawdy · 17 Comments  
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In a follow-up to the 27 APR post entitled, Swine Flu (Influenza) and the Best Tip for Surviving Its Spread I am amazed at the large number of news outlets (national and local) showing or suggesting the use of these tiny blue surgical/face masks as a part of their Swine Flu reporting on defensive measures. I’m sure you’ve seen them over the last few days bracketed by terms like contamination, outbreak, pandemic or deadly influenza. They sure dig props. Remember how shortly after 9/11 everyone was encouraged to go purchase duct tape to protect themselves?

In fairness, or perhaps in the interest of full disclosure, I am not a scientist, a mathematician or a doctor and I’ve never been very skilled with a protractor or a slide ruler, so you are welcome to take my objections to the above nonsense with a grain of salt. Ironic, in that in the world of measuring tiny things, a grain of salt is in the right ballpark. In that a human hair is about 75,000 nanometers, now figure that the Swine Flu virus registers at roughly 100 nanometers, a full 750 times smaller than the follicles atop your head. At that diminutive size, unfortunately, the Swine Flu virus skirts right through the fiber weaves of 99.99% of these masks. Not unlike rolling a bowling ball through your open garage door, the Flu contained in contaminated respiratory droplets slides right past your face smock.

Perhaps for those convinced about the need for such jaw-jackets, we could offer them duct tape to hold their masks in place. Click here for more information on survival through self-reliance at BuriedLogic.com

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17 Responses to “Swine Flu H1N1, Face Masks and Duct Tape”

  1. Swine Flu (Influenza) and the Best Tip for Surviving Its Spread : blog.rv.net on April 29th, 2009 9:54 am

    [...] UPDATE: For updated information on the Swine Flu, please visit: Swine Flu H1N1, Face Masks and Duct Tape [...]

  2. C Bradford on April 29th, 2009 12:46 pm

    PArt of what you say is true, the H1N1 virons are very small and by themselves slip right through the weave of most masks. The point that you fail to consider is that by themselves they are too small to be airborne. To be airborne, they must attach themselves to dust or water particles. These particles are large enough that if you pay attention and get either a N95 or N100 mask,the particle with the H1N1 viron attached will be filtered out. Be aware that it is advisable to lightly “dust” the outside of the mask with Lysol spray so that when the moisture that the viron is attached to dries, that the viron is already destroyed by the lysol before it then penetrates the mask.

    On another topic, you also mention duct tape & plastic, this is of course to seal off you doors & windows to prevent the virons from entering your RV or home. Readers should be advised that before they seal up their home, they must provide for some means of filtered air supply to provide fresh air for breathing.

    A good site to check out some of these items is:

    http://www.alpharubicon.com/index2.html

  3. Larry on April 29th, 2009 1:22 pm

    Perhaps if you’re going to write a sarcastic criticism of the usefulness of the face masks seen on the tv and used to decrease the spread of flue, you should find out what you are talking about first!

    Most flu is spread by respiratory droplets. Droplets expelled for instance when one sneezes. The droplets then are directly breathed or transferred to the mouth by hand, when the individual touches their mouth with their hands.

    So the masks are quite useful. First they stop the droplets from getting into the mouth and second they stop the hands from touching the mouth.

    You really need to rewrite that posts since some may take your advice and throw away the masks and get the flu when they might not with the mask.

    Larry

  4. Mike on April 29th, 2009 1:29 pm

    The N95 masks are rated to stop 95% of 300nm particles so the analogy should be a bowling ball passing through a series of 2′ square boxes. They won’t stop 95% of 100nm virus particles but they will stop some.

  5. Chuck on April 29th, 2009 1:49 pm

    Leave the poor swine that had nothing to do with the flu. Just refer to the sickness as the flu!

  6. Casey Donovan on April 29th, 2009 1:50 pm

    As you’re discovering, a little specious arithmetic can be a dangerous thing! However, I suspect the main benefit of the mask to the wearer is in keeping his dirty fingers out of his mouth.
    An even greater benefit may accrue if the person wearing the mask has the flu. Then, if he’s thoughtful enough not to remove the mask when coughing or sneezing, it can reduce the airborne explosion of germ laden droplets.

  7. Dave on April 29th, 2009 2:10 pm

    Brian, since I’m immune compromised I’ll be following the advice of the CDC when it comes to masks. Don’t take it personally.
    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/MasksRespirators/

  8. Brian Brawdy on April 29th, 2009 4:33 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. It is VERY important to do your own homework and do what you feel is best. The stress and worry over not wearing a mask, should you believe it to be useful, is more likely to cause your immune system trouble than anything the flu can do.

  9. Robert on April 29th, 2009 4:36 pm

    Larry is correct. I teach a course is sterile/aseptic technique and think you may want to rethink your position. A virus has no wings or feet. It doesn’t fly, nor does it walk or run. How does it get around so well? It hitches rides on air-borne particles such as dust, fibers, and water droplets spewed from the mouth during talking, coughing, sneezing, etc. The mask will stop these relatively large particles and the virus will remain on the mask (hence the need to change them often). So, yes, the mask is helpful.

  10. Brian Brawdy on April 29th, 2009 5:22 pm

    Thanks again.
    I have just reviewed the current CDC info on the above topic.

    “What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
    First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.”

    Obviously missing is the “Wear a face mask” suggestion.
    Again, if it is less stressful overall to wear the mask, than I say have at it.

  11. Pam Evans on April 29th, 2009 5:43 pm

    If you use the face masks they are a single use item, so once you remove them from your face they need to be trashed and replaced. Don’t ever let them dangle at your neck and then put them back on. That means you will need close to a box a day.

  12. Don MacConnel on April 30th, 2009 9:13 am

    According to my ENT, even wearing glasses, as opposed to no glasses or contacts, gives some small protection against respiratory droplet carried disease.

    Here’s an interesting site. Fairly technical but appears to be spot on.

    http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/lecture/lec34601/index.htm

  13. Ron Lind on April 30th, 2009 9:19 am

    I need to read the other responses before taking the time to write a response down on paper. Larry is right on! Everything else has been covered except that when you wear a mask, you also reduce the chance of spreading a disease that you already have. I read that you can be contagious before you are aware of being sick. The Chinese have been taking this sort of personal responsibility for years – mainly due to their population density. I travel to the orient for business and whenever there is some sort of alert, a high percent of the population utilizes masks. The chinese masks are much thicker and seem to have multi layers. I can’t say if they are more effective or not.

  14. pamela s cox on May 2nd, 2009 12:10 am

    THINK OF IT THIS WAY WITH ALL THE EXTRA BRU-HA OF THE SWINE FLU NO ONE IS THINKING ABOUT HOW BAD THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IS. EVEN THE MEDIA (WHO BY THE WAY STRIVES ON FEEDING OUR FEARS) HAS FOCUSED AND CENTERED ON THE SWINE FLU AND HARDLY ANYTHING ELSE. WE SHOULD BE INFORMED, THAT I AGREE, BUT SATURATED WITH SO MANY FACTS THAT WE GET OVERWHELMED AND FEARFUL IS NOT NECCESSARY. WE ARE HARDWIRED TO KNOW IN A REAL PANIC SITUATION IT’S “FIGHT OR FLIGHT.” ENOUGH WITH THE OVER REPORTING. JUST BE INFORMED, CAUTIOUS, AND AWARE AND YOU WILL DO JUST FINE.

  15. Brian Brawdy on May 2nd, 2009 5:52 pm

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE PAMELA.

  16. Dental Lake Worth on February 5th, 2010 12:44 am

    The best treatment for influenza infections in humans is prevention by vaccination. Work by several laboratories has recently produced vaccines. The first vaccine released in early October 2009 was a nasal spray vaccine. It is approved for use in healthy individuals ages 2 through 49. This vaccine consists of a live attenuated H1N1 virus and should not be used in anyone who is pregnant or immunocompromised.

  17. Mike Carmo on March 3rd, 2013 9:53 pm

    Whispering Misty…

    So sorry you may skip the workshop!…

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