SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is on the rise... governments around the world have been accused of cover-ups, one mayor in China was fired for understating the SARS cases in his city, and the public has been near panic as Quarantines go into affect in many cities in several countries.. and it doesn't show any signs of slacking up as of this writing.
I'm not a doctor, I don't even play one on TV, but I do have access to friends that are doctors.. when they talk, I listen.
People have been asking me what they need to protect themselves from SARS.. I've listened to the docs and other medics and several things are mentioned time and again. This is what we are stocking:
So far, Health experts in affected countries are using these precautions at a minimum... either an N95 mask or (preferably) an Isolation mask for general use (and you may need several a day depending on dust and humidity, Thankfully they are cheep right now, about 12 bux per box of 50), and N100 Masks for closer contact (usually one will last a day or two).
If you expect to be in longer term close contact with a SARS carrier, you need an N100 mask with outlet valve (about $6.50 apiece as of this writing, expect that to rise) AND EYE PROTECTION!
These ARE NOT the same types of masks for sale at Lowes or Home Depot.. those are "Dust masks" and only protect to about 1 (one) micron.. the isolation masks protect down to .1 (Point one) microns.
These masks MUST be worn properly!!!!!! There is a small metal strip at the top that needs to be form fitted to your nose... there is also an INSIDE (Marked "INSIDE") and an OUTSIDE to the mask.. it makes a difference!
The mask should be high up on the nose, down under the chin, and sealed across the bridge of the nose with the metal strip!
As you breathe in, the mask should suck inward and form a better seal. Breathing out should NOT fog your glasses.. if it does, the mask is not being worn right.
We got our isolation masks from RainDog Outdoors. If you watch the news, These are what you see the citizens of China wearing on the street. Many U.S. Distributors won't send them out of the country due to a world wide shortage thanks to SARS and terror threats (I actually think there are plenty of masks right now, but the USA is expecting shortages and trying to keep the masks at home). Several friends in other countries have e-mailed me asking for isolation masks since they can't find them at home.
YES! Your MOPP gear will offer protection against SARS too! (But you might stand out in public, especially when you keel over from heat stroke ;)
Basically all the precautions we've been implementing for Smallpox will work for protecting yourself against SARS. Plan for the worst and anything less is better. Isolation masks, Eye protection and frequent PROPER hand washing (See Marsha3's article on Handwashing) will go a LONG way towards protecting you from SARS.
If the worst happens and SARS goes pandemic, the isolation "Safe Rooms" most folks have been constructing against bio-terrorism will offer you a lot of protection.. but it's hard to pay bills while locked in a safe room.
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