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Best Surgical Masks?

justy

Donate Advocate Demonstrate
Messages
5,524
Location
U.K
I'm going to be travelling by public transport (Eurostar) from London to Brussels for IVIG monthly during the winter and am considering a respirator mask that will protect me from colds, flu etc, and perhaps also help if I am sitting near someone on the train with perfume?

I am in the UK, so UK suggestions would be good. I have had a quick browse on Amazon, but feel a bit lost - I don't want to buy crap ones.

Also I have Asthma and lung issues, so is it possible to get ones that aren't really heavy and make you feel hot and like you can't breathe? if I take it off when I am on the train for any reason, will I need to then use a fresh one, or can it just be put back on?

I presume antibacterial hand spray is also a good idea - I've never used one before and am very sensitive to smells so any suggestions for this again? what are they made of?

I just keep catching everything at the moment and it would be sods law to catch a nasty bug while travelling to get treatment ot help my immune system.

Cheers!
Justy x
 

WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
an isolation mask is very light, but also quite stuffy. You may need some changes, but they probably come in a box of many (as they are sold typically to hospitals). It might be possible to get at a drug store/ chemist. The duck bill kind is more protective than the kind you see surgeons wearing on TV (but that kind is available in floral designs, at least in Asian countries, where it seems more normal to wear them on the street).

There should be some kind of certification by a health authority so hospitals know what they can buy.

I do not know if they would help with perfume (for that you might need a more permanent kind; @Dainty could likely help you with this).

An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is generally considered the effective choice (according to the nurses and doctors I have read: also I guess the herbal ones would smell very strongly--the herbal house cleaners do). You can get sanitizer in gel or on wipes, too. I use sanitizer after touching any hand rails or anything like that.

I just have to try several brands before I find one that is not much scented, and then buy that brand until someone stops carrying it or they decide to be clever and add an ingredient.
 
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MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
an isolation mask is very light, but also quite stuffy. You may need some changes, but they probably come in a box of many (as they are sold typically to hospitals). It might be possible to get at a drug store/ chemist. The duck bill kind is more protective than the kind you see surgeons wearing on TV (but that kind is available in floral designs, at least in Asian countries, where it seems more normal to wear them on the street).

There should be some kind of certification by a health authority so hospitals know what they can buy.

I do not know if they would help with perfume (for that you might need a more permanent kind; @Dainty could likely help you with this).

I used to use Respro allergy masks with chemical filters for perfume sensitivity, but perfumes get through them now. Manufacturers deliberately reformulate the ghastly stuff to last ever longer, to be released on contact with skin and to be released from fabrics when pressed, so I guess they must have also now formulated them so that they penetrate more.

I now have to wear a swimmer's nose clip, plus a light cotton mask if I am outside (so as not to inhale insects!).

I don't know what will keep out pathogens though.
 
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xchocoholic

Senior Member
Messages
2,947
Location
Florida
Hi @justy .. I've been busy lately and just wanted to say Hi and hope you're feeling better.

Also is it possible your doctor will have a solution ? I'm sure he's seen this. Maybe there's even a prescription medical device available.

I don't have any answers. I can't breath thru any of the masks I tried so I've started using clean cotton linens held together with a clothespin when I dust. I'm sure it looks lovely. Lol. I've yet to try it but was considering spraying it with an essential oil.

Tc .. x
 

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
Hi @justy .. I've been busy lately and just wanted to say Hi and hope you're feeling better.

Also is it possible your doctor will have a solution ? I'm sure he's seen this. Maybe there's even a prescription medical device available.

I don't have any answers. I can't breath thru any of the masks I tried so I've started using clean cotton linens held together with a clothespin when I dust. I'm sure it looks lovely. Lol. I've yet to try it but was considering spraying it with an essential oil.

Tc .. x

I've sometimes dabbed essential oils on masks just to alleviate the psychological effects of artificial perfumes, and it helps a little with that, but I doubt if it can counter the damaging effects of the chemicals on the brain and body. I will try not to rant about these ubiquitous chemicals, but anything you can smell can enter your brain (unlike anything you eat or even inject - only specific chemicals can get in that way), yet very few people know or appreciate the implications of this for public and personal health.
 

xchocoholic

Senior Member
Messages
2,947
Location
Florida
I've yet to fully research it but I've heard that some essential oils are good for us so they might help clear toxins. Things like ecalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, etc. The more expensive ones are recommended.

I've used a few drops of tea tree oil in a mini crockpot filled with water several times now to clear bad smells from my home. Worked great. I just never fully researched this.

Tc .. x
 

Helen

Senior Member
Messages
2,243
I'm going to be travelling by public transport (Eurostar) from London to Brussels for IVIG monthly during the winter and am considering a respirator mask that will protect me from colds, flu etc, and perhaps also help if I am sitting near someone on the train with perfume?

I am in the UK, so UK suggestions would be good. I have had a quick browse on Amazon, but feel a bit lost - I don't want to buy crap ones.

Also I have Asthma and lung issues, so is it possible to get ones that aren't really heavy and make you feel hot and like you can't breathe? if I take it off when I am on the train for any reason, will I need to then use a fresh one, or can it just be put back on?

I presume antibacterial hand spray is also a good idea - I've never used one before and am very sensitive to smells so any suggestions for this again? what are they made of?

I just keep catching everything at the moment and it would be sods law to catch a nasty bug while travelling to get treatment ot help my immune system.

Cheers!
Justy x

Hi Justy,
I have no good suggestion for you. I just want to tell that I get really sad to read about your situation, and that you that are so sick and with sick children, in 2014, should have to go abroad under these circumstances to get the treatment that isn´t strange or new or unscientific to try to improve your immune system.

I do wish you all the best with all the arrangements and I hope someone would show up to drive you from door to door.

Best,
Helen
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
Hi there, I was talking the other week to someone involved in the import industry for personal potective equipment for pandemics which include masks. He was telling me that my one I got from MCS is no good for ebola if it got here as the virus is very small and will just pass throu the charcol filter.

He was put me onto the following mask http://www.exitkitsaustralia.com.au/Virogard-anti-viral-face-mask (link has picture) which can be machine washed up to 20 times.. (he said the only thing better then that would be proper respirators). (note that price is for a box of 10 of them) These kill viruses on contact with them and are 100% non toxic to us. So I guess if you want to be taking something on and off, you would need it to be killing things on contact.

The Virogard P2 Respirator Mask has the same antimicrobial performance as the Virogard re-Usable mask but additionally meets the higher International Standards for filtration and facial fit. International Standards do not accommodate re-use in fabric respirators and the P2 Respirator can only be regarded as single-use. It is designed for situations where high contagion risks are present.

All Virogard Masks will kill Influenza Type A virus, Ecoli and Tuberculosis on contact – not simply trap viable virus on the mask surface or within its fibres.


Antimicrobial testing was carried out at the University of New South Wales, EML Laboratories, and AMS Laboratories. The testing identified excellent effectiveness against biological agents including:

• 99.5% reduction in Staphylococcus aureus after 30 minutes
• 95% reduction in Pseudomonas aeruginosa after 6 hours at 37C
• 99.7% reduction in Candida albicans after 3 hours at 37C
• Market fungicidal property against Aspergillus niger (no quantitative test available)
• 99.9% reduction in Klebsiella Pneumoniae
• 99.79% reduction in E.coli
• 4.2 log reduction in Human Influenza Virus Type A (10-minute test).
• 99.9% reduction in Tuberculosis

Antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal action was not diminished by hot ironing nor by rinsing in water or machine washing 20 times. The Product meets accepted criteria for a disinfectant and viricide according to Australian Therapeutic Goods Order Number 54/54A. The Virogard Protective mask is manufactured from two layers of anti-microbial material that can be worn for extended periods, providing protection without discomfort. It has been contoured for an ergonomic fit to the face, providing a positive facial seal and maximum user comfort.

A proprietry anti-microbial polymer coating is incorporated in the fabric of each layer which ensures that no micro-organism survives on its surface, let alone passes through it. The polymer coating cannot leach, contains no heavy metals, fluoro-chemicals or pesticides and is 100% non-toxic to humans

As far as antibacterials go. I suggest you look up which essential oils are anti-bacterial, many of them would be. You could mix up then some pure essentail oil with a carrier oil and use that on your hands and that as an antibacterial, non chemical thing.
 
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Dainty

Senior Member
Messages
1,751
Location
Seattle
I wear a chemcial cartridge respirator like this one when in public at all times. Before I had that any venture into the public was highly life-threatening to me.

Any non-sealing mask will give practically zero protection for perfumes, whether or not it utilizes some sort of carbon filtration. If that's important to you, then you need some type of mask that seals to your face, which means an air-tight fitting with inhalation and exhalation valves for breathing. These may not feel comfortable enough for you to wear, and of course they draw much more public attention than the dust mask/surgical mask style, which is much more low profile in comparison.

Half face respirators are good because the attachments are practically limitless. "filters" are what catch particulates like dust and bacteria, whereas "cartridges" are what adsorb and/or neutralize chemicals. Depending on your sensitivities or where you'll be going, you can "build" a mask most suited to your needs. So you can wear just filters, or filters with some carbon in them for light chemical issues, or stack filters on top of cartridges, or use just cartridges.
And there are different cartridges for different chemicals, and different filters for different particulates, for example some will break down when exposed to oil, others won't. Some chemical cartridges are particularly suited to protect you from chlorine, or ozone, whereas others are more designed towards VOCs (the ones I find most useful).

IMO surgical masks and dust masks are marginally effective, at best. They'll protect you from saliva flying through the air, but the fact that they don't actually seal tightly to your face negates much of their other benefits.

Nevertheless, if you really will only consider a low profile mask, you probably want the ones with a built in exhalation valve, as these will be easier to breathe in. I'd recommend getting/trying on several different ones in different sizes (I know, I know....as if that's feasible) in order to get the fit as tight as possible. And if you can find that style with something called "Nuisance Level Organic Vapor" protection (e.g. this) in the dust/surgical mask sty;e, that's probably the closest you'll get to what you're hoping for.

With the masks I use - chemical cartridge respirators - someone could be sitting right next to me reeking of perfume and I'd only find out after I arrived home and smelled it on my clothing upon removing the mask. You literally don't smell anything. At all. Except maybe the inside of the mask. It's hideous to wear in public but the protection is unbeatable.