Swine Flu H1N1 - Chemists running short of masks to protect swine flu, H1N1 virus. Swine Flu, H1N1 virus - There has been a rising demand for various types of preventive masks in Mumbai and the supply is falling radically short since the Pune schoolgirl Reeda Shaikh lost her life to swine flu. Most chemists placed orders with distributors after customers came in with demand.
The cheap anti-pollution cloth masks (priced at roughly Rs 10) are getting sold quickly in spite of not guaranteeing prevention from swine flu H1N1.The N-95 masks (were popular during the Sars scare) promise 95% filtering efficiency, are in demand but not easily available.
The N-95 disposable mask, comes in five different models. It costs Rs 55 to Rs 270. It is suppose to help reduce exposure to particles more than 0.3 microns in size. The N95 respirator has more than 95% filtering efficiency. It has been tested and recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for pandemics.
Swine flu - prevention, Different types of mask that may Protect You from swine flu
THE SURGICAL MASK
This mask prevents droplets and viruses that are more than 4 microns in diameter, like the influenza virus which causes the common cold, from passing through. Best used outdoors and on public transport. Made of paper with a gelatinous layer.
Comfortable, provides ventilation. Can fit everybody as the straps can be adjusted to fit each head size. Even children can wear it.
Should be changed every four hours, or once it becomes wet with fluid. Difficult for people wearing secs as vapour will keep forming on their lenses.
THE PAPER MASK
This mask will not give much protection against swine flu or H1N1 viruses. They do not have a filter. Unlike the three-ply surgical mask. Anything with a diameter less than 5 microns will be able to pass through the paper and into the respiratory system.
Ok for minimal use. People serving food can use it for hygiene. Not useful for those who have a cough or cold.
Hardly any protection against viruses. Can tear easily because of moisture from saliva.
THE N-95 MASK
Very effective in catching very small particles as the material used to make this mask generates static electricity. Particles above 0.3 micron cannot pass through. Used to protect against highly transmissible respiratory infections such as tb.
Made using a nonwoven technology of polypropylene fiber, that increases the density and filtering function.
Breathing difficulties. Children may not be able to cover up the nose and mouth completely.