If you have been watching the news you may have seen that there has been an outbreak of Coronavirus originating in China but now making it’s way around the world! It’s urgent that people keep on top of this and protect themselves and their families properly. The easiest and most effective method of protection while out in public is through a coronavirus mask.
Key Coronavirus Facts So Far:
- The virus (named 2019-nCoV) originated from Wuhan in people who visited a seafood market, it’s thought the virus originated from a snake.
- There has been over 220,000 cases recorded so far and over 9000 deaths world wide.
- Many countries and regions are in lock down, travel has been halted and borders shut.
- China still has the most number of cases but lately seem to have got on top of the infection through lockdowns and forced isolation.
- Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding says the coronavirus has a R0 value of 3.8, making it more contagious than a cold virus.
The WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in March, this a serious health hazard to the region and the world at large. The major concerns most health professionals have right now is capacity of health care systems within countries and there are reports in Italy of doctors being forced to choose who they treat and who they leave to die due to a lack of ventilators.
— Darren of Plymouth 🇬🇧 (@DarrenPlymouth) January 25, 2020
Important note: This article is not designed to be used as health advice, seek out your own government’s advice. For those in America please read the CDC website set up to help with coronavirus and for those in the UK check out Gov.uk for the latest advice. I am a blogger, not a health professional but I did work in automobile painting and know a lot of about masks.
What is important when buying coronavirus masks?
The whole idea of a coronavirus mask is to stop yourself from inhaling the airborne virus. We often see people in Asian countries wearing masks in media but this is not usually to block viruses, they want to block pollution. The good news is the same masks are also very effective at blocking viruses and filtering the air that you breathe. When selecting a mask you want to look for the following:
- The N rating – You want to find a mask rated N95 (FFP2 in the EU) or higher, this means it filters 95% of particulate matter including dust, smoke or viruses down to 0.3 micron in size.
- Disposable Filter Elements – Replacing and disposing of the mask entirely or the filter itself is important. After all if it does it’s job it contains the virus so keeping it on your person is not a smart move. With expensive masks they will feature replacement filters but most masks are cheap and designed to be thrown away.
- Fitment – If there are gaps between your face and the mask unfiltered air will get through.
These masks work in a very simple manner, they have filters (often some sort of carbon or synthetic material) which is a very fine grade that physically stops particles getting through. Most regular decorating or painting masks are more than capable of blocking the coronavirus, please keep this in mind. These are not special medical grade products, don’t spend more than you have to as there are already people taking advantage of consumers with lies.
IMPORTANT: The coronavirus can be transferred through your eyes and ears. For this reason we recommend FULL FACE masks along with ear plugs in the form of cotton balls with tea tree oil infused (just 2 drops is fine). Wear gloves, change them regularly. Leave your shoes outside your home.
These are your basic N95 masks. They filter out 95% of particular matter down to 0.3 micron level (much smaller than most viruses).
This is a 20 pack of masks, they are disposable and suitable as a basic level of protection but can leave gaps where unfiltered air can be breathed in around the nose/lip area.
They fit most faces, they are very universal.
- NIOSH approved for at least 95 percent filtration efficiency against certain non-oil based particles
- Adjustable nose clip helps in obtaining a secure seal
- 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve helps reduce heat build-up inside the respirator
- Advanced electrostatic media is designed for ease of breathing
- Compatible with a variety of protective eyewear and hearing protection
This is a N95 (0.3 micron) filter mask. It works in very much the same way as the model above except it fits a bit better and is a little better quality.
It's again a disposable model sold in a 10 pack, ideal for keeping in your car or desk at work. It has many of the problems other disposable masks have with bad fitment around the nose but it's not as bad...
- 8-Pack is a total of 8 masks
This is very similar to the masks above except this is a N100 mask, designed to block 100% of everything.
As a result the filter element is larger and much more beefed up. It's also a lot of expensive and slightly unnecessary... N95 masks will work fine.
This is the grand daddy option, which uses a half mask design and filters that attach to the mask with a bayonet fitting.
This is a N100 mask which will fit your face perfectly leaving no gaps. It's far more secure and heavy duty than the paper filter options above however is more expensive and slightly overkill... If you're forced outside of your home with an outbreak in the neighborhood though this is the best option!
- 3M Small Silicone Ultimate Half Mask 7500 Series Reusable Respirator With 3M Cool Flow Exhalation Valve, 4 Point Harness And Bayonet Connection
- Abatement Painting Welding Battery manufacturing Construction Utilities Mining Pharmaceutical Smelting Chemical handling
Let's not mess around, this is the kind of mask you need if you're looking for something to be 100% effective. This virus can spread through the air, mouth, ears and eyes. This mask will protect everything except the ears and as listed above the best thing for the years is cotton balls with tea tree oil (the oil kills viruses).
This is an excellent mask and comes complete with 4 replacement N100 elements (although I would grab more if you can). If you're serious about protection this is where I would go. The masks below that protect your mouth only leave the possibility of infection through your eyes, eye protection is every bit as important as mouth protection.
- Vapors and particulates depending on your individual needs
GVS are well known for making super comfortable products, when I painted cars for a living this was one of my favourite masks!
Unlike the half face mask above and below, the construction here is a synthetic material rather than hard plastic yet it has the same conforming shape to your face that leaves no gaps.
Their filters are replaceable but often not as easy to find and buy as 3M products, this is worth keeping in mind as you don't know when you will need filters in an emergency. This would be my choice for a budget mask but I would stock up with 20-30 filters just incase (they are cheap).
- Range of extremely light masks that adapt perfectly to the face, without hindering the user
- NIOSH Approved TC-84A-8078
- Low breathing resistance to reduce the risk of user fatigue and to add additional comfort, thanks to pleated HEPA filters.
- Organic vapor, acid gas, and particulate combination filters protect against a wide range of vapors and dust
- GVS masks are hypoallergenic, made from odor-free, medical grade materials, which are free from latex and silicone, and come with an easy to adjust head band
If you're looking for a mask that will not only do the job for coronavirus but many other things including fire or gas leaks then this is the best mask you can buy.
Unlike other models I have reviewed this is a full face mask meaning your entire face is placed into the mask and not only your lungs are protected but your vision also. This is an N95 mask with replaceable carbon filter elements designed to keep your safe from viruses but also any airborne particles such as smoke.
- Comfortable to wear: The respirator is made of food-grade silicone material, and the elastic silicone fits the facial skin perfectly to achieve a firm seal. The soft silicone will not make you feel uncomfortable. The headband can be adjusted.
- Low breathing resistance: The flow valve in front of the respirator can effectively reduce heat and moisture, promote breathing, and reduce the risk of fatigue for users.
- Design: The filter box can effectively remove particles larger than 99.95% and can effectively prevent dust.
- Safe and reliable: The gas mask with dual filtering function can effectively and comfortably protect you from certain concentrations of specific particles. Can effectively protect the daily industrial gas pollution.
- Do not use this canister in a carbon monoxide environment. When not using a mask, securely close the lid of the lid and the bottom stopper and keep it in a cool place. Canisters should be stored in a dry, clean, ventilated, and heat-resistant warehouse.
This is a double filter half face masks from 3M. These are N95 (N100 filters also available) which fit around your face very snuggly.
These are ideal for a husband/wife team. They do come in different sizes but medium should fit the majority of people. These are excellent masks that I have used personally and the detachable filter pods are widely available.
- NIOSH Approved Solvent and Particulate Respirator
- Good for 40 hours of light solvent filtering work and 8 hours of concentrated solvent filtering
- Resealable package
Thank you to Chris in the comments section for pointing out that I didn't cover anything for children... My mistake.
This is a good product that will suit smaller faces. It's a N99 filter so it's higher rated than N95 masks and should protect children against the virus and should fit their face well. I think this will do well for small children, any child above 9 years old should be big enough for an adult mask at that point.
- [PACKAGE INCLUDES] --- 6 pcs mouth masks. Meet the needs of your kids.ideal for unisex girls and boys(4 to 15 years old ).
- [BREATHABLE MATERIAL] --- Made of sponge material, can filter small particle of the air.which is soft, pliable and breathable, ideal for people with skin sensitive allergies.
- [REUSABLE] --- This mask can let air in easily and keeps moisture out, letting you breathe easier while keeping dust and other pollutants out.
- [USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN] --- Elastic ear loop mouth-mask is wide enough for cover nose, mouth and face, very comfortable to wear.
- [MULTI-PURPOSE] --- It can protect your mouth and face from dust, pollen, ash, fog and haze, vehicle exhaust and passive smoking. .for hospitals, schools, travel, cleaning, painting, construction, outdoor activities.
Other Protections Against Coronavirus
As the virus grows and spreads around the world the danger massively increases and things could turn rather difficult very quickly. Due to the fact that it’s Chinese New Year and levels of travel in infected areas is so high right now it’s the worst possible time for such a virus to mutate. In addition to wearing in a mask if you are indeed near a confirmed coronavirus outbreak there are a number of other things I would be encouraging you to take seriously. The best place to be if a local outbreak occurs is at home with no contact from the outside world.
You may think of this as rather extreme, but it’s not. This is a virus that spreads from person to person with no immediate symptoms that is more contagious than the common cold… If you don’t want this virus then you need to limit contact with it as much as possible. If you are concerned about the virus the advice from the WHO is to immediately go home and lock yourself away while it’s dealt with.
Hand Sanitizer and Gloves
Become obsessed with hand cleaning, avoid contact with animals and surfaces that lots of people touch such as door handles and other surfaces. Washing with soap and water is fine, but while on the move a high alcohol content hand sanitizer is advised!
These alcohol gel products kill bacteria and viruses very effectively. Stock up on this and use it liberally, it does not require water to work so it’s ideal for on the move.
If things escalate the best place to be is in your home and you will want to avoid leaving and risk exposing yourself to the outside world…
Stockpiling essentials could become necessary, some of these products may be:
- Battery powered flashlights and radios
- Disinfectants that kill viruses
- Surface cleaners and cleaning products
For most people these are regular household items and things you’re going to use up anyway if nothing happens, but it’s best to have them now and be ready in case something does happen. If you are not prepared you will be fighting at stores as other people stockpile goods, get ahead of the curve.
If it does come down to it (or another disaster happens later on down the road) you want to be prepared with a good amount of food ready to go. You can start at the supermarket, looking for food with a very long expiration date such as:
- Pickled veg
- Tinned products
- Jars of sauces
You can also buy survival food online designed for this purpose with a 25+ year shelf life and they really don’t taste all that bad, they are the same sort of dehydrated meals hikers eat which can be prepared warm or cold.
Water also needs thought, the simple solution is to buy large water containers and store it yourself but another solution for those without that kind of space is canned water with a 50 year shelf life.
Backup power systems may be a good idea, particularly if you are someone living in remote area.
Simple solutions include:
As you are in your home and the windows are shut air will become stuffy, one way to beat this is an air purifier which can double as a source of extra protection…
You want a HEPA rated filter with back up filter elements. These machines push air through a filter with pulls out dust, pollen, smoke and the particular model below uses a UV light to kill viruses like Coronavirus. If you can stretch I would advise one of these per room as they really do help!
Disposable protective clothing whenever you are forced to leave your home will keep the risk of bringing the virus into your home at a minimum. I would advise that these are kept in your cars and your home, when used in conjunction with a mask and gloves you’re going to be very well protected. Change out of these BEFORE entering your home and immediately shower/wash if you are forced to go outside during the outbreak.
Corona Virus FAQ
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds that include diarrhea in cows and pigs, and upper respiratory disease in chickens. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections, which are often mild, but are potentially lethal.
Coronaviruses are not uncommon as a group, Ebola, Sars, Mers and most flus are Coronaviruses but the danger is this particular mutation is extremely dangerous and has killed hundreds of people at this point.
Why is it so dangerous?
Well we don’t know if it is yet, there were 45 deaths out of the first 1000 confirmed cases. That’s a 4.5% mortality rate…
For comparison regular seasonal influenza has a mortality rate of 1% so it seems far more dangerous but so far data is limited.
Where has Coronavirus spread?
So far there have been confirmed cases in the US (Washington and Chicago), France, China, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
China has shut down entries and exits to Wuhan where the virus spread and the capital Beijing. They are taking this very seriously but doctors and nurses are concerned that supplies are limited to treat and test people.
Is there a cure to Coronavirus?
At this stage there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population – elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems – to protect themselves. One sensible step to get the flu vaccine, which will reduce the burden on health services if the outbreak turns into a wider epidemic.
What are the symptoms?
The virus causes pneumonia, a build up of fluid in the lungs. Those who have fallen ill suffered from breathing difficulties, coughs and fever. People have also suffered organ failure however those are likely to be weak people such as the elderly or previous health conditions.
It’s a viral pneumonia, which makes anti-biotics useless. The drugs we have for flu will not work against this virus. Hospitals will help clear peoples lungs but ultimately recovery will depend on the individuals immune system.
Should we be worried?
This is a major concern and 100,000’s of people will die from this virus. We are at war with a common enemy and must stick together.