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Respirators vs. surgical masks

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by gunbunny, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Since reading that H7N9 can defeat a regular surgical mask, a P-100 mask is needed. There aren't too many P100 surgical masks around, and may be worse: Pissin' On The Roses: CDC Requiring Face-Seals On ALL Approved Masks And Points To H7N9; Shortages Imminent! Looking around for things I have on hand, I have an old (but perfectly useable) North Safety 7700 series half mask respirator with a couple of organic vapor cartridges.

    I don't see why this would not be able to be utilized in a pinch, with proper cleaning of the respirator before and after use. Unfortunately, I haven't changed filters in the thing since I painted my Jeep in the garage with a LPHV gun a few years ago, and they are quite caked up. I went to the local hardware store, but they don't sell filter cartridges for this respirator, only 3M products.

    The 3M respirators use a bayonet attachment for their filters, and not a screw on type, so trying to adapt them will be difficult. Any adaptions would be temporary at best, anyway. It figures that manufacturers use their own style of filter attachment, and that nothing is standard. Maybe this is from a liability standpoint, but for a guy like me it just makes things more difficult.

    All the manufacturers that I've looked at make light, flat style P100 filters for their respirators, and some even have hepa filter cartridges.

    I do have a few questions about protocol. When and where to use the respirator- when going outside, or just when around people, or just around patients? How often do you change cartridges- every time you are done, or every other time- or until it gets harder to breath through it? Can you clean a P100 cartridge with some hexadine glucanate and water solution, let it dry, and reuse them?

    I would change the filters only with a gloved hand and then spray down with some hexadine glucanate and water solution. When donning the mask, I would probably also rub a little bit of the HG+water solution on the seal of the mask, or rub it on my face where the seal would land.

    Any other ideas?
  2. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Have you checked at WW GRAINGER? I see hundreds for sale on line for North Safety 7700 .

  3. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

  4. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I'm sorry, I meant "any other ideas" about using the cartridges. I found a few places online, and I can get 3M respirators of a comparable type at the local hardware stores, and plenty of P100 filters there.

    I meant any ideas about the protocols concerning the cartridge filter use in place of surgical masks, if ever the need arises.
  5. techsar

    techsar Monkey++

    Washing and reusing filters IMO is a recipe for trouble. You run a significant risk of degrading or perforating the filter media, or breaking down the adhesive holding it in place.

    Surgical masks are primarily designed to protect the people NOT wearing the mask, whereas the cartridge filters (half or full-face) protect the user...apples and oranges. Granted, the surgical mask will stop gross contaminants from being inhaled (such as a spray of blood or mucus) but are not going to stop any virii @ .1 micron.

    The CDC also created a panic buying spree a few years back with the H5N1(avian) and H1N1(swine) flu variants.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Surgical mask are pretty "weak". I would trust them for only an emergency.

    OTOH, Gas mask style, full face, would be my first line of defense.
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  7. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    The site may be a little out of date as to being okay with using an N95 respirator, but it does give you a good idea about the type of filter, use, and care when you read the PDF files:


    I've found these masks, filters, and Tyvek hood at the local HomeDepot. It wouldn't be hard to substitute a P100 filter for the one referenced in the above link. If I didn't already own a respirator, I would seriously consider this option.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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