Although the aCovid-19 virus is hosted by bats, some particular subtype might affect other mammals too, including humans. In a direct manner the virus is contacted from infected birds, mostly household poultry but sometimes wild birds also can infect hunters, tribal people, etc. In an indirect manner the infection can enter the human system via edibles infected with the virus, polluted water, objects, air, food, etc. by the bodily secretions or excretions of infected birds. The flu virus being airborne, the contamination in the air may be reasonably high, in the event of epidemic or pandemic proportions. Infected people carry the flu virus with them wherever they travel and spread it in air and on objects they touch via their nasal secretions and bodily discharges.

Personal Protective Equipment or PPE as they are called are equipments created for health professionals to utilize when they are doing work in contaminated environments. Nose and mouth respirators or ‘Masks’ are those most widely used. Bird flu masks are incredibly specific pertaining to the reality that the bird flu virus is microscopic and is not easily filtered out from the environment using conventional filters.

These masks are created on the guidelines given by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Based upon filtering efficiency, filters found in the Mask fall under 3 categories, namely Type 95, Type 99 and Type 100. The proportions of microscopic (.3 micron wide) particles filtered out by these filters are 95%, 99% and 99.7%, respectively. Also the filters are categorized based upon filter efficiency degradation and they are hence called, N (non-immune to oil), R (oil resistant) and P (oil proof). Each individual mask is tested in laboratory settings before being approved for sale. But N95 ones are disposable and cannot be cleaned.

The most common ones are N-95 filtering respirators which were approved by NIOSH (also referred to as as Filtering Facepieces) as being effective drastically cutting down exposure risks to airborne viruses like SARS or Avian Influenza. The usage of masks is suggested to individuals employed in high contamination situations, like health care workers attending to patients, or field workers involved in destroying the infection sources, etc.

Another set of very powerful, protective masks are Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs). These are far better than N-95 masks in offering better protection. These are generally employed by persons who cannot wear N-95 masks, like people who have facial hair. This battery operated mask includes a face piece with breathing tube and filters.

Even though any mask is not an assurance against influenza infection, they dramatically cut down the chances of infection from airborne viruses. It remains to get said however, that this capabilities of the masks degrade with time quprnl usage. Aerosols, if contained in the working environments, degrade the filters even more. Hence, Mask must not be used in combination with 100% reliance, but only as among the preventive tool. Much more, there are guidelines that ought to be adhered to while (re)using such PPE. It is hence clear that the best defense will not lie in every amount of measures taken but alternatively within the knowledge with which these are implemented.

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