Swine Flu Masks - Do You Need One?

N95 maskRemember the SARS outbreak six years ago when we saw pictures of Asians wearing surgical masks to protect them from contracting the disease or from spreading it? The masks were so popular, designers started custom making them and high fashion designers poked fun at the new "fashion trend" (remember the mock Louis Vuitton masks?). Now, swine flu (aka H1N1) has brought the trend back.



In the Vaccines, Autism & Natural Living group, heidi1439 posted an article from Natural News that states: "N95 masks, you see, have but one purpose: To prevent the wearer from infecting others. N95 masks have virtually no ability to protect the wearer from other people's airborne germs." If you think about what the surgical mask actually does it makes sense. The masks work by preventing virus-carrying particles from becoming airborne and thus infecting others (as long as it's fitted properly). The FDA has a very helpful explanation of the N95 masks on their website -- who manufactures them, how they work, and how to use them. The prices vary from $70 to $11 depending on where you shop. MasksnMore, Amazon, and Flu Armour are the top sites that will pop up after a Google search.

Are they worth the money or are we just overreacting? Cafe Mom and nurse, shespott thinks we all need to just relax. She wrote a journal post entitled "Swine flu from a nurse's perspective," where she recounted all the panicky parents rushing into the ER with their kids convinced they have swine flu. She wrote: "I just worked all night and the majority of stuff that came in was just stupid. The night before, we had a kid come in who was seizing and we had to life-flight to another hospital. I actually had a mom yell at me because she was made to wait while we took care of that other child, and her child was there with no symptoms because she was worried about the swine flu. I mean, maybe I'm naive and it will get bigger than it is and be a larger problem, but as it is at this moment, people are more likely to get sick coming to the ER than staying home."


What do you think about the N95 masks -- a necessary precaution or an overreaction?

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