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Using Face Masks & Respirators to Prevent the Spread of Illness

When the flu is spreading around the school or among your family, what steps do you take to prevent getting sick? We all know that getting vaccines, taking antiviral medications, frequently washing your hands and avoiding contact with people who are sick (as much as possible) are effective ways in preventing the transmission of illnesses. But another effective method, especially in the early stages of an outbreak, is using face masks and respirators.

Face masks and respirators are particularly effective in preventing droplet transmission (i.e. the spread of illness through sneezing, coughing, etc.). And the research proves it:

Face masks and respirators are similar, but their features have a few variances:

Face Masks prevent body fluid droplets that contain viruses from escaping the nose and mouth and are:

  • Able to filter large airborne particles
  • Disposable
  • Loose fitting
  • Used by doctors and nurses while treating patients

According to the United Federation of Teachers, students who complain of fever, cough or sore throat should be asked to wear a face mask. While they are being evaluated (or waiting to be evaluated) by the school nurse and while they are still in the school before being taken home, it helps keep their virus contained and reduces the risk of other students becoming ill.

Respirators, also called N95 respirator masks, protect you from particles in the air that may contain viruses and are:

  • Able to filter 95% of airborne particles (both large and small)
  • Designed to form a perfect seal on your face so nothing can get through
  • Reusable
  • Certified by the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Due to their features, respirators are generally known to be more effective than face masks. However, both can go a long way in preventing the spread of an illness. We recommend that school nurses with a high volume of students with flu-like symptoms wear a N95 disposable respirator. Any time a nurse cleans an infected area, takes a temperature, provides direct care or is within three feet of a student with a fever, cough or sore throat, a respirator should be worn.

You can shop MacGill’s selection of face masks and N95 Respirator Masks by clicking here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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