Let’s wake up and smell the pandemic. There are only 3 things you can do with a virus
- Create a vaccine for it
- Find a cure for it
- Avoid getting it
As yet we have no answers to 1 or 2 so the choice is 3, avoid getting it as long as possible. Avoid getting it again if you got it once before. Avoid giving it to others. Masks, goggles and alcohol hand sanitizer are your best bet today. But you have to wear the right PPE, wear it correctly and maintain it.
NOTE: If you think the global pandemic virus is not real or some sort of plot, no point in reading any of this as you will not agree. If you agree that without a cure or vaccine, your only option is to do what you can to NOT get the thing, read on. This article will go over how to do this most effectively.
How does a Mask Work? – There are 3 entry points for this virus (mouth, nose and eyes), which if it doesn’t make you sick enough to kill you, will make you extremely sick and because the virus has spikes which attach themselves to lung tissue (this is why ventilators have been ineffective) they are very hard to remove and when they are removed, tear into lung tissue potentially causing lifetime problems going forward. The goal is to keep this nasty bug outside of your body.
The point of a mask is to make as tight a seal between your face and the mask so air that travels into you goes through the mask filtration first, and when you expel air, if you HAVE the virus, to keep the virus from leaving your body and going out into the air effecting others. So the key is a tight seal. Wearing a mask under your nose makes it easier to breathe, but does nothing to protect you or anyone else. The point is not being “compliant”, it is being “protected”. If you don’t have a mask with a metal strip above the nose, there will be gaps. If the sides are not tight to your cheeks, there will be gaps. Air will travel through the easiest way in and out so gaps in the mask, both air and the COVID-19 virus will choose those paths, will enter your body and will infect you.
To recap, without a proper seal forcing air through the mask both ways, air and the virus will pass around the gaps and enter your body. If you are not going to wear a mask properly then you will not be protected AT ALL. This is not to make the governor or your state happy. It is to keep you healthy and alive. Why our CIC and VP have switched gears not listening to the CDC, WHO, and countless physicians that have been saying social distancing AND wearing masks will help keep you and other’s safe is puzzling and has no basis in fact.
The Trifecta – Wearing eye coverings, and a tightly fitting mask will give you a much better chance to not getting infected. If not, breathe deep, and thank you for making sure Social Security will have enough money for those of us who live through this.
First let’s go over how to wear a mask. Many people are wearing masks under their noses. You might as well not wear a mask at all. If you have COVID-19 you are protecting no one. If you don’t have it, you are not protecting yourself at all. If you really don’t care or don’t want to understand, make yourself a mask out of open fishnet stockings. They won’t protect you at all but you breathe much easier and you will be compliant.
N95 masks vs. Standard masks – the cardboard sword
Would you wear a seat belt made of cut up old sheets? Would you jump out of an airplane holding the ends of a large blanket instead of a professional parachute? How about a Styrofoam helmet when you ride a bike or play football? We are at war. Make no mistake people. Our enemy is too small to see, but it is here, within our borders, attacking and killing Americans every day.
Our leaders have equipped our frontline workers with N95 face masks to protect themselves. They recommend we wear masks as well. Whatever mask we can find or make ourselves. And that, plus six feet of distancing, will protect us. Not unlike an army equipping their troops with metal swords, while they give swords made from cardboard to their civilians. Want another analogy? How about military using automatic weapons while the public is fighting with brooms and pitchforks. The enemy, within our borders, has sharp metallic swords, fully automatic weapons with real ordinance and is attacking us all, not just the hospital and emergency workers. Raise a cardboard sword to a metal one and the cardboard sword turns to confetti. Come on people, the real ones aren’t that expensive. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
You are being asked to wear masks in public, maintain 6’ social distancing, wash your hands for 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and reopen our country because we won’t let a little inconvenience like an incurable, deadly virus affect our economy. The concept is not wrong, its deployment is.
Real N95 masks will filter out Anthrax. Standard masks filter out dust and dirt and MAYBE if someone with the virus coughs on you and you pull your 1800 bank robber bandana away from your face really fast you may not get it. Real N95 masks are not expensive and come in various configurations.
The nose knows – Many people are wearing masks under their noses. Some have masks that slip off their noses. There are 3 entry points where the virus can enter your body; your mouth, your nose and your eyes. A well-designed mask covers and makes a seal around your nose and mouth. Goggles cover your eyes. If any of these three entry points are left uncovered, your efforts are meaningless. Attack someone with a cardboard sword and see how far you get. A cardboard shield is equally ineffective. Not only should the mask be ABOVE your nose, but you should wear a mask with a metal strip at the top so it forms tightly to the bridge of your nose. Gaps anywhere will mean you breathe in air mostly from around the sides of the mask and will not protect you whatsoever. If when you breathe out you fog up your goggles (or glasses/sunglasses for those who don’t believe in eye covers), you have no seal and air/virus will just travel through the gaps, avoiding your mask.
Nice thought but this child is completely unprotected.
The gaps on the sides of the mask and on the sides of
the nose are where most air is entering and leaving,
filtering out nothing.
Masks suck – No argument whatsoever. There are, however, various degrees of suckage. And various degrees of effectiveness. Frankly, the custom made, bandana masks, masks from cut up socks, pretty masks with your company’s logo, masks with funny faces, real surgical masks and other non-N95 rated masks are essentially worthless. Especially if not maintained. You can get real N95 masks in a variety of places, here in the US and abroad.
So, let’s recap; wearing a non-N95 mask is one step away from wearing nothing at all. Wearing any mask under your nose IS like wearing nothing at all. Not covering your eyes also leaves you completely vulnerable. If someone coughs on you, or you walk into the airborne virus, or you are riding your bike, or driving your car with the windows open or top down you may drive through the virus and get it that way. And the circulating air will likely move across any open entry points in your eyes, nose and mouth, allowing the virus to get inside you. Close your windows, use your AC, AND hit the recirculate button in your car. Drawing in air from the outside, come on say it with me, just sucks the virus into your car while you are driving. (You like math? Two cars are driving at 65MPH, same direction, one 1000 feet ahead of the other. A person with COVID-19 coughs out the window in the car in front. How far must you be for social distancing to protect you? I don’t have an exact answer but my guess is if you are 1000 feet away, you will be able to catch up to it.).
Misnomers – social distancing – if you are 6’ away from someone with the virus, wearing a mask made from cut up socks, will protect you – FALSE. The latest studies show it is more like 13’ and that is only if there is no wind to help it blow by you. Wearing your mask as you enter a restaurant, then removing it as you get seated one booth away from anyone else you will be protected – FALSE. In a closed room the air circulates around the room. The virus could easily hitch a ride on those air currents and join you at your table. STAY OUT OF PLACES WHERE YOU SIT IN ONE PLACE WITHOUT A MASK IN PUBLIC.
N95 Masks – the real deal
N95 masks come in a variety of configurations and if you are in love with your purple mask with the duck face on the front you can turn it into a N95 with a replaceable filter. Let’s go over some of the differences.
To vent or not to vent – A little circular plastic block can be found on many N95s. That is a vent. It contains a small rubber flap that opens when you breathe out and closes when you breathe in. Vents make it easier to breathe as when you exhale it is pretty much like normal. When you inhale it filters through the mask to protect you. Masks today can come with zero, one or two vents. More is better if you DO NOT have COVID-19. If you are COVID free, get yourself a mask with one or two vents and you will be happier. However, if you DO have COVID-19, DO NOT wear a mask with a vent. If you do, every time you exhale, the virus is going to project right through the mask and out into the air in front of you. If you have the virus, you need to wear a sealed mask to keep what you have from spreading and to keep what others have from reaching you.
Any mask with a block like the one above has a vent.
It closes when you inhale, but opens when you
exhale making it easier to breathe. Great if you
DO NOT have COVID-19. If you have it, using
this type of mask, you will just blow COVID-19
directly out of the vent, potentially infecting
anyone close by.
How long do they last? – If you maintain them properly, a N95 mask should last you 20 uses. It is like the filter in water filter in your refrigerator. After about a month they no longer filter out the chlorine and other chemicals they are supposed to. If you wear a mask every day, then you should replace them once every 20 days. That can get costly if you are throwing away a new mask every 20 days, however the latest trend in N95 masks are masks with replaceable filters. You still need to treat them but in 20 days you can toss the filter and put in a new one. The filters are called PM2.5 filters and will turn any mask, even the 1800 bank robber bandana, into a real N95. And the filters cost about $1 each in volume. Many masks come with an internal sleeve so you can slide out the old filter and slide in a new one easily, and it stays put where it needs to.
Maintaining a mask – As the virus can live on things for several days, once you are done wearing yours for the day, you need to treat it so it is ready to use next time. You need to do the following:
- Spray the inside and/or filter with either Keloidal Silver or Lysol Spray
- Put the mask under UV light or direct sunlight for 2 hours
You change your car’s oil on a regular basis, check tire pressure and rotate tires to make sure your car is running properly and it is as safe as it can be. Masks are no different. Keep them properly maintained and they should keep you from getting sick.
Metal bridge – The main reason masks drop off your nose (if you are not doing it on purpose) is the lack of a metal bridge. Better masks have a bendable metallic strip inside or attached to the top of the mask that you can bend over the bridge of your nose to make a tight seal above and below. Remember, for this to really work, you need to have your mouth, nose and eyes covered. If you are pulling your mask up over your nose several times a day, you are not protected.
Goggles – Another item you are bound to hate, but again, dislike vs. death or sickness is the variant. Goggles that are sold for this purpose cover your eyes and generally have flaps on the sides to protect you from those angles. These are fine for walking around. If you are going to be moving quickly (In a car with an open window or top down, riding a bike, running or jogging) then you really need a sealed mask, similar to the ones divers or snorkelers wear. If you are moving quickly, air flows around the extremities of an open mask and will get in your eyes to infect you. Sealed masks are less comfortable, but won’t fog up from your breathing and may save your life if you are very active. A full shield is fine for walking around, but again, if you are moving quickly in a car, motorbike or bicycle, air will flow around the shield and can get in your eyes, etc. making you sick. Best bet is to run your AC, keep the windows up and set the car to recirculate air instead of bringing it in from outside. The “six foot” rule (which they discovered is more like 13 feet) won’t protect you at 60 miles per hour. You will catch up to the airborne microbes and they will make you sick.
75% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer – Have lots of this; in your car, in your purse, in your house, at work, wherever you go, have a small bottle with you in case there isn’t one where you are. Use it before you get back into your car if you have been shopping. Use it if you are in a strange room and you don’t know who was there, what they were touching or if they had COVID-19.
This is NOT Forever
Many people are saying that life as we knew it is now over. I do not subscribe to that belief. Once there is a cure for COVID-19 or we have a 100% effective vaccine, to walk around like there is still a deadly pandemic would be crazy. Put your mask and goggles in a drawer and go back to sitting in crowded bars, restaurants and movie theaters, riding on packed airplanes, standing in the front row shoulder to shoulder at live rock concerts and laying on the beach inches from the next towel. Living your life in fear is not living. However, when there is an incurable, deadly virus floating about where more and more people are getting it every day, being combative about “having to wear a mask” is insane. On a TV show called House MD, Dr. House made a comment about automobile safety which seems to relate.
You want people to drive safer, take out the
airbags and attach a machete pointing at their neck.
No one will drive over three miles per hour.
The “government” isn’t doing this to you, at least not our government. How the virus actually got from China across the rest of the planet is subject to interpretation and way above my pay grade. However, the virus is here and currently we have no way to stop it. So right now, it pays to do what you can to be safe. If you drive in the snow you put snow tires or chains on your car. You don’t complain to the government that your car slides in the snow and ice on bald tires. Be proactive and protect yourself and your family. No one else will.
Where to get them – I will update this section and would like input from any of you who know where to buy real N95 masks and PPE accessories here in the US. For now, I will give you three websites that have all this in stock and many different varieties to choose from. They are all in China so you will need to get over that first, but the Asians have been manufacturing real N95 masks for decades. We are new at it. The biggest issue is time. Go spend a little extra and buy a few N95 masks here, now in the US so you are protected while you are waiting. Orders from China can take 3 weeks to 2 months to receive.
NOTE: Type N95 into the search bar to find all of their PPE offerings.
- wish.com – Best selection and pricing of the three. All coming from China so be prepared to wait a while for delivery. If something comes in damaged or not as expected and they generally refund your money without asking you to ship the inexpensive items back.
- lightinthebox.com – Also good selection but a little pricier. Worth a look, but you will notice a lot of the same styles on all of these sites.
- gearbest.com – Most expensive of the three, but they have inventory here in the US so you will likely get them faster.
- sethwhe.com – Fairly new company but their pricing is good and they have several distribution points in the US.