A flu pandemic is a serious threat to the human race, and one that is often overlooked by many preppers. If a flu virus that can spread from human to human where to break out, it could potentially spread around the globe in a matter of days, killing millions on its journey. Finding the right respirator mask to protect against a flu virus may be confusing, but there are a few things you should know before buying a mask.
Flu Virus Mask – Which One?
Ok, so we have established that a respirator mask is needed to help protect against infection, now, we just need to work out which one to get. There are many different types on the market, N95, FFP3, FFp2…. the list goes on. So, lets get into it.
There are a few things you need to understand about the flu virus before we look at masks. First off, you need to know the virus particle size, and how it travels.
Influenza viruses are usually transmitted in two different ways, direct transmission, which includes touching an infected person, kissing, touching an infected surface, such as a door handle… the other way is via droplet transmission. This is basically the spreading of the virus via small droplets of moisture in the air. Single influenza viruses don’t float around by themselves, they need a carrier.
With that in mind, lets take a look at some numbers.
N95 is a NIOSH standard, meaning the mask will filter out 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size or bigger.
The average influenza virus is around .12 microns in size. Now, you might be thinking, damn, these masks won’t work, well read on.
The average sneeze/cough droplet is over 10 microns in size.
The average droplet nucleus size is around 5-10 microns in size.
So, what does this information tell us? Since we now know influenza viruses don’t float around on their own, we really need to find protection against particles 5 microns in size, and larger, and a way to prevent direct infection by touching infected surfaces or people/animals.
So, lets look at what masks protect against the flu virus.
First off, N95 masks. An N95 mask protects the wear from 95% of particles sized 0.3 microns or larger. This type of mask will help protect the wearer from a flu virus. We know we need protection from particles sized 5 microns and larger, so this mask will do the job, but there are better available.
Buy: N95 Mask
An N100 mask shields the user against particles 0.3 microns in size, or larger, at a rate of 99.97%. Better than the N95 mask, and a good choice.
Buy: N100 Mask
An FFP3 respirator mask is by far the best choice. FFP3 masks provide the highest level of protection without going full on Hazmat suit and are relatively cheap to buy. It will protect the wearer from airborne virus particles suspended in moisture droplets. An FFP3 mask will protect against solid and liquid aerosols, and are even used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Buy: FFP3 Rated Mask
So, which mask should you choose? Well, any of the above will do just fine, though, I would recommend an FFP3 rated mask, just for that extra piece of mind.