Letter: Acclimate to Wearing N95 Masks!

Dear Prepper Friends and Family,
As someone who sleeps with a CPAP machine running every night I’ve grown accustomed to the strangeness of having a mask on my face. Even more so, when I exhale the mask fills with hot breath and it feels as if I’m suffocating. When I inhale, however, I get clean, fresh air and it’s all okay. But I had to train myself to not struggle with it.

We’re all going to run into this situation with N-95 filter masks if and when the time comes to wear them whenever we go out in public, to protect ourselves from catching this COVID-19 virus. Wearing these masks gets uncomfortable p-r-e-t-t-y fast. The inside of the mask fills with hot / humid air, and then when you inhale you get fresh, cool air. (It’s worse with masks that don’t have an exhalation valve!)

My advice to you would be to pick one of your masks (hopefully you have a decent supply) and try wearing it. Start out for short periods of time, maybe just a minute while you’re watching television or reading a book (something not requiring physical exertion!). Then work your way up to wearing a mask for 15 -to- 20 minutes, the amount of time you might have to wear it to go into a store to make a purchase once the virus turns up in our communities.

You can’t be taking the mask off when the danger is high, just because you’re uncomfortable. Some of you might have a strong reaction to wearing a mask and having the suffocation feeling. You need to work through that, get used to it, train yourself that it’s okay.

You can’t be fiddling with the mask, or cheating by lifting it to get a breath of “fresh air.” If there’s really a virus danger the outside of the mask will have hundreds if not thousands of virus particles stuck to it and disturbing them will be a bad idea.

Don’t forget that this virus has proven itself to be extremely contagious (even contagious disease experts have gotten themselves infected!). And that the CDC has just recently agreed that asymptomatic carriers are a real thing. The people around you might have few mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, but still be able to spread the infection. You just won’t know.

The N-95 masks are simple, fairly foolproof (nothing is “foolproof” because fools are so clever), and effective. So when the time comes it’s a smart thing to use. Please don’t settle for anything less than a mask officially rated at N-95 or N-100.

Don’t wait until the last minute to have a mask supply, and don’t wait until the last minute to acclimate yourselves to the strangeness of wearing one!

Trust God. Be prepared. We can do both!

ShepherdFarmerGeek




11 Comments

  1. N95 masks are mostly sold out everywhere. Another option is the 3M 7500 half face respirators. It is more comfortable to wear for long periods of time IMO and you can clean the mask. It also creates a seal so it is superior to a disposable mask in that regard and you can clean it. The P100 filters are also better and can be bought in bulk still on U Line. The down side is that it is a bit large and walking around in public with it on may draw attention to you. Also wear some sort of eye protection since that is another way the virus can enter your body.

  2. Here in enemy territory in western ny all N95 masks have been gone for a few weeks. I use them for work so I have been keeping an eye out. They are not available anywhere. I’ve been told by someone in corporate of a national chain that the CDC bought all stock not on shelves a few weeks ago. Not sure as to the truth of it but regardless I can confirm your not getting any around here. Thanks in large part to this blog I have an adequate supply.

    1. Diesel Dan, I hear you. This was my experience. Last October 4th, 2019, I bought my first batch of N95 masks with valves for $1.24 each. This was for, “someday we might need these,” and I thought I would occasionally add to my supply, because 100 masks does not go far when dividing them up between 25 people. Ordered through PK, quick and easy. On January 26th, 2020, I found “Grainger” online, and it was stocked and selling these masks with 2 day shipping. I placed my order, and got an order confirmation # for N95 masks with valves and a few first aid items as well. Two days later, instead of receiving an email that my items were delivered, I received an email stating that the N95 masks with valves, item #14F203, were “RESTRICTED ITEMS,” and my order was canceled.

  3. Not sure if it’s already been mentioned or if it’s still widely done in the healthcare setting but we always had to be fit tested for the N95 respirator (mask). They came in various sizes and if you could taste the spray they used then your mask size was incorrect. This was done annually if I remember correctly but definitely during new hire orientation.

  4. I was a Hazardous Material Technician and Specialist for over 30 years. I responded to emergencies with a tactical response team. I agree completely with the Shepard. You must train for what you must do well. Get used to your protective gear. Get used to taking it off safely. If you MUST leave your hunker down place during this emergency, make sure you don’t bring any of the hazard back with you.

    If I must leave, when I return, my plan is to strip in my garage and come immediately in and shower. Later, wearing gloves and a fresh mask, I will put the old mask in a zip bag and place in an outside trash can and either quarantine the used clothes or wash in hot water. That’s my plan right now.

    You must figure it out for you. If you were not smart you would not be here reading this. God is good……all the time.

  5. Thanks for the comments here from experienced folks.

    My life work which includes medical training at Walter Reed, pesticide certifucation training, and old Army NBC training, kept pointing to a common route of infection/poisoning….through the eyes.

    In my opinion, if any agent is bad enough to need protection against respiratory infection routes, we need to prevent both a direct contact of it onto our eye socket and the frequent inadvertent finger touch onto the membranes which we all do many times a day.

    Eye Protection. Even if it’s just to keep us from touching the eye…. until we have cleaned our fingers and hands.

    Be ready to bug out and keep the ‘bug out’.

    God Bless.

  6. P100 Masks are a very good added protection. These can be purchased at most hardware stores and are used for chemical protection, but provide excellent airborne virus protection as well. They provide a more positive seal against the face.
    Since the COVID19 virus can infect through the eyes as well, wear tight fitting goggles. If the goggles have anti-fogging vents, tape over those.
    Before removing the gear, consider spraying it down with a disinfectant, like a bleach solution. Wearing a waterproof hood around over which the mask and googles seal will help with disinfecting. Keep the disinfecting spray outside the door and use it before entering the house. You don’t want to bring any live virus inside your living space.
    Extreme dangers call for extreme protective measures.

  7. Around here N95s and P95s are still widely available at Lowe’s, Harbor Freight, Tractor Supply etc.
    Acclimatization is important but timing it even more so. The timing of minimizing personal contact will also be as important.
    Fit testing is done for a reason. Facial hair needs to be addressed as well.
    Take a deep breath because we still can. Calm your mind and rock steady. It’s not time to panic but it’s time to prepare at a steady pace and train.

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