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Face masks - good source?

Posted: 23 May 2020, 10:13am
by Sweep
Apologies if posted before.

Am looking for some face masks for my mum.

I understand that N95 type are the best but probably unobtainable at the moment and in any case best left to the emergency and care services.

Quick look online seems to show lots of shyster opportunists.

And my mum has had some very dodgy promos put through her letter box.

Can anyone recommend a good source?

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 23 May 2020, 10:39am
by mjr
I think locally, the best sources are pharmacies if they have any for public sale, then drug stores (although the two in Lynn have now closed, weeks into lockdown), then catering suppliers. I don't think I trust the ones in small shops because I think the shop keepers are as vulnerable to cons as I am.

I certainly wouldn't buy them from random online stores or leaflet drops unless desperate.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 23 May 2020, 10:58am
by Sweep
mjr wrote:
I certainly wouldn't buy them from random online stores or leaflet drops unless desperate.


agree.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 24 May 2020, 11:16am
by Tinnishill
It might help to understand a bit about how masks work. There are some useful wiki pages on here;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N95_mask

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_mask ... _FFP_masks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloth_face_mask


I previously posted some info on here;

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=136728

“N95” is a US guv-munt equipment standard. The Chinese equivalent is KN95, which is roughly equivalent to the EU FFP2 standard. The European mask standard is EN149 with subsets FFP1 (a simple face covering) FFP2 (stops 94% of particulates and droplets) and FFP3 (a full on rubber face). In the UK the EU standards are usually rendered as P1, P2 and P3. Recently I have seen single use disposable masks advertised for sale described as P3 which have KN95 in the small print, so as usual it is buyer beware.

The current requirement to wear masks in enclosed public spaces is likely to become stronger as the UK tries to reduce physical distancing down to the WHO recommended 1 metre. That requirement to wear masks might last for a couple of years. Your purchasing choices are likely to be either frequent repeat buying of single use disposable masks or buy more expensive reusable masks with changeable filters or DIY home made.

Round here we are using home made masks made from two layers of polycotton (flowery Laura Ashley) with a pocket for a removable filter layer. There are loads of basic design patterns out there. Close fitting to the face is key. Once the mask has taken shape, present it to your face and pinch in bits of edge material with a couple of stitches to achieve an improved fit; “darting” the sewers among us call this process. Our filters are cut from a kitchen extractor filter. We have four DIY masks each to allow for washing and drying.

Masks can only be effective if they are used carefully. Our current regime is; don the mask while approaching the supermarket queue, on exit from the shop move in to a clear space before removing the mask, roll the mask inside out and place in a small plastic bag, clean hands with alcohol gel, go home and put away shopping, extract and bin the mask filter along with the small plastic bag, put the mask into the empty kitchen sink, thoroughly wash hands, soak the mask in boiling water straight from the kettle, hang the mask up in the sun to dry.

It’s not just masks. Covid19 spreads by droplet contamination via the recipients mouth, nose and eyes. In a high risk environment (say, in a crowded underground train or around any suspected patient) eye cover is a good idea. When removing the eye protection clean it with an alcohol wipe and then clean your hands.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 24 May 2020, 11:21am
by Sweep
Interesting, thanks.

I had kinda wondered about oven filter material (pretty sure I have a spare somewhere and being lazy never fitted it) - are they all safe to put close to your breathing intake?

Thanks also for the info on the discipline of using the things, though can't help but think that the rigours of the required system are going to make them only a little above useless as far as most folks are concerned.

thanks again.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 24 May 2020, 12:19pm
by mjr
I don't think "Masks can only be effective if they are used carefully" is true for face coverings in mass public use. Some tests found that even a mask condemned as rubbish by users of surgical masks (loose fitting, made of "wrong" material such as wool or polyester, and so on) more than halves asymptomatic droplet transmission at 2m. Public health is a matter of playing the numbers. Even if you would rather use a 95+% effective mask yourself and follow full medical style infection control donning and doffing procedures, please don't condemn basic ones because you may deter people completely and it looks like mass use of even imperfect face coverings is still worth having.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 24 May 2020, 12:35pm
by Tinnishill
by mjr » 24 May 2020, 12:19pm
I don't think "Masks can only be effective if they are used carefully" is true


Yep, that's fair enough. You could read that as "Masks can be more effective if they are used carefully".

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 24 May 2020, 2:13pm
by Sweep
mjr wrote:I don't think "Masks can only be effective if they are used carefully" is true for face coverings in mass public use. Some tests found that even a mask condemned as rubbish by users of surgical masks (loose fitting, made of "wrong" material such as wool or polyester, and so on) more than halves asymptomatic droplet transmission at 2m. Public health is a matter of playing the numbers. Even if you would rather use a 95+% effective mask yourself and follow full medical style infection control donning and doffing procedures, please don't condemn basic ones because you may deter people completely and it looks like mass use of even imperfect face coverings is still worth having.

Fair points

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 25 May 2020, 7:41am
by millimole
I've not been out much, and even less into shops, but I've realised that with my poor hearing I rely on facial clues and maybe some degree of lip reading much more than I appreciated. It's not just that I can't see the facial expressions, the voice is muffled as well.

I've taken to always having a pen and notepad in my pocket for mask wearers to write down what they want to say.

I'd just make a plea for mask wearers to be aware of the issues some people have, and to exercise patience!

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 2 Jun 2020, 3:31pm
by elPedro666
millimole wrote:I've taken to always having a pen and notepad in my pocket for mask wearers to write down what they want to say.


And antiseptic wipes for before and after they use them I hope! Joking aside, I have a similar issue with paperwork/pens which get passed around at work. I keep my pen to myself but paperwork is practically impossible not to handle. I try to stuff it into a plastic folder asap and gel (if it's not possible to wash) my hands.

Point noted on clarity; a friend (who is on here) is similarly hard of hearing and it becomes apparent when you're doing other things - usually making tea - how much he actually does lip-read.

With masks I thought the real value of them was in protecting others from yourself, rather than protecting yourself from the outside world, to which end I assume any basic barrier will be somewhat* effective. That of course only works if we all participate in the wearing.

*deliberately vague measure!

I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my CLT-L09 using hovercraft full of eels.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 2 Jun 2020, 8:11pm
by mjr
elPedro666 wrote:Point noted on clarity; a friend (who is on here) is similarly hard of hearing and it becomes apparent when you're doing other things - usually making tea - how much he actually does lip-read.

Yes, I feel it's worth either taking a step backwards and lowering the mask just to speak, or using a few signs when you speak: yes (nod) and no (shake) are fairly easy, plus https://www.british-sign.co.uk/british- ... gn/please/ and https://www.british-sign.co.uk/british- ... ign/sorry/ might be obvious to anyone who's seen certain recent childrens' TV shows. It's not much but it may help. https://www.britishsignlanguage.com/ has more phrases free than british-sign.

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 3 Jun 2020, 1:21am
by Tangled Metal
A company called Johnstone prams IIRC sell Noordi prams. Noordi are making non rated masks out of material used for prams. Since most pram brands user OEKI certified fabrics they'll be good for not causing reactions. They are shaped well and cost £6.99 each. Most places sell these for a tenner or more. They're antimicrobial with a silver ion treatment and a wire at the nose for better fitting. :|

https://www.samueljohnston.com/Mobile/MobileSearchResults.aspx?Search=Masks+

Others make basic flat masks likes hilltrek outdoor clothing. More expensive, not shaped, no nose shaping and the fabric is likely to be harder to breath through.

https://hilltrek.co.uk/clothing/gaiters-mitts/ventile-face-mask/

There's so many small, boutique clothing companies making and selling masks. Some more fancy than others. Some allow an internal, replaceable filter to be put in.

https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/travel-outdoors/coronavirus-face-mask-covering-cloth-buy-online-uk-a9510331.html

One point, if she gets a valved dust mask style tape the filter up. The filter opens to allow breath out which also allows your water droplets carrying the virus out if you have it. Since masks are more about you stopping your breath carrying virus out to others not protecting you. If I wear masks it's for anyone I meet. They wear masks for me. If everyone wears masks it'll help asymptomatic people passing the virus on to others. Not as effective as other measures but it's the numbers game as said upthread. Distancing and hand washing is more effective but worth doing everything you can right?

Re: Face masks - good source?

Posted: 3 Jun 2020, 6:20am
by Cunobelin
millimole wrote:I've not been out much, and even less into shops, but I've realised that with my poor hearing I rely on facial clues and maybe some degree of lip reading much more than I appreciated. It's not just that I can't see the facial expressions, the voice is muffled as well.

I've taken to always having a pen and notepad in my pocket for mask wearers to write down what they want to say.

I'd just make a plea for mask wearers to be aware of the issues some people have, and to exercise patience!



Absolutely... We check patients for symptoms and wear PPE

However, there have been occasions where stepping back to a "safe distance" and removing the mask is vital to communicating with some patients.