April Armstrong, a good friend of Stealth Mask and advocate of COVID safety, writes about the importance of wearing the correct type of mask, in this case the Stealth N100 respirator Mask, and why face mask safety is one of the most important things we can take personal responsibility for.
As vaccines rollout across the United States, some states, such as Texas, are already beginning to relax mask mandates. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new Director Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has sounded the alarm that it is too soon and very risky to roll back protective measures, such as the primary public health strategy of source-control masking plus social distance.
With at least three known SARS-CoV-2 variants now spreading across the United States, decisions by states to relax or drop mask mandates inject a new danger – a pandemic “boomerang effect” just as public health officials race to get enough people vaccinated to protect them against severe illness from COVID-19. Ironically, as states loosen mask mandates, I believe protective masks will become more important, not less important, for anybody who wants to live COVID-safe in this transitional time.
As someone who once led some of nation’s most comprehensive national pandemic preparedness and response research in a program for which Dr. Anthony Fauci served as a lead scientific advisor, I’ve long urged people to wear a “protective” mask in any public place where you may be in close contact with other people indoors in a global pandemic. This is especially important in any circumstance (such as traveling) when others around you may not be wearing (or properly wearing) a source-control mask.
Source control only masks offer limited protection (if any) directly to the wearer. “Protective” masks (such as any of the masks in the Stealth line) protect the person wearing the mask, unlike standard surgical masks or cloth face coverings which are “source control” masks that primarily protect others from the person wearing a mask and the infectious respiratory droplets they may expel. As protective masks go, they don’t come any better than the NIOSH-certified Stealth N100 respirator mask.
Unlike people, all masks are not created equal, and only some, such as the Stealth N100 respirator mask, earn the coveted NIOSH-certification. Respirator masks are the most protective masks available because of their verified superior filters and their tight face seal, achieved by fitting straps over the head or behind the neck. Proper fit and use of NIOSH-certified respirator masks are a primary reason we haven’t seen every doctor and nurse who treated out millions of COVID-positive patients get COVID-19. I recommend these masks to non-medical professionals whose work requires them to be in close contact with others who may not be wearing (or properly wearing) a source-control mask such as special needs teachers, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, law enforcement and public safety officers, customer-facing transit-related workers (such as bus drivers), and hospitality and restaurant personnel.
With its durable hard shell, the nearly-indestructible NIOSH-certified Stealth N100 respirator mask with replaceable filters is ideal for everyday people who want to stay safe in a pandemic world, and the only mask you’ll ever need. Here’s why:
- Unparalleled protective power: When it comes to respiratory safety, the NIOSH certified Stealth N100 respirator mask has no equal. Even more protective than an N95 mask, this protective mask can take you anywhere where you may have close encounters with other people – from the airport to the physical therapist, the gym or a massage – you are safe in this mask.
- Affordability: At $39.99/mask, and with phenomenal re-use (224 hours of industrial use, and likely far more with everyday “light” use before you need to replace the filter), you will not find a better value when it comes to personal respiratory protection. This translates to less than twenty cents per hour of use (and likely far less for everyday use as the filter time can be safely extended).
- Practicality: The entire shell can be safely wiped with an alcohol cloth between uses, and you can remove the filter if you want to give it a good occasional soapy bath to clean it. Unlike other reusable respirators where the filters sit directly on your face, the Stealth N100 filters are enclosed within the shell of this mask. The shell protects the filter from facial grime and respiratory moisture from breathing that can soil other filters that sit directly on the face, thus extending the life of the filter.
Beyond its unparalleled affordability and practicality, here is what I like best about the Stealth N100 respirator mask:
- Single headstrap design: Most respirator masks have two narrow elastic headstraps that cannot be adjusted. The elastic may be too tight, and the straps feel like they are cutting into your head or face; or over time they may begin to stretch, and the mask becomes too loose forcing you to discard it even if the filter is still good. The Stealth N-100 respirator mask lets you comfortably achieve a “Goldilocks” fit through an ingenious single-strap design. The elastic strap is wide and thus more comfortable than narrow straps and it weaves through each side of the mask to create the head and neck strap through a single strap. Adjustment easy by simply pulling either end of the strap to tighten or holding the side of the mask and adjusting the strap at the sides of the mask to loosen it.
- Breathability: The Stealth N-100 respirator mask is the most breathable mask of its kind. You are certainly aware you are wearing a mask, but the sensation of breathing feels just as good as without a mask. Whether it’s a long day of air travel or a trip to the gym, this is my respirator mask of choice because of its incredible breathability. You will look and sound like Darth Vader, but it’s worth it to anyone who does not want to take any chances with COVID-19.
(NOTE: Stealth masks have valves, but as I advise on www.livecovidsafe.com, simply cover the valve with a surgical or cloth mask where needed. This way you comply with source-control mandates, while not sacrificing safety).
- Availability: Until recently, it was not easy for everyday people to get a respirator mask. Medical grade N-95 respirators are still urgently needed by healthcare personnel worldwide, and you likely would need to order them in bulk. Stealth masks can be ordered individually and with their new distribution plant in Ohio, they can be quickly and affordably shipped anywhere in the U.S. While superior to most respirator masks, they are not medical-grade, so they do not take away from what our healthcare providers still dearly need.
Proper use of NIOSH-certified respirator masks such as the Stealth N100 protects you from more than just COVID-19: From dust to particulate matter from fires, to other nasty viruses, this mask has you covered.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that we could be entering an age of pandemics. “Respiratory viruses are the most frequent causative agents of disease in humans,” according to the Encyclopedia of Epidemiology, highlighting eight major viruses (of which SARS-CoV is one) that are “well adapted to efficient person-to-person transmission” and circulate on a global scale. If you’ve ever returned home from traveling with a nasty bug, this isn’t news to you.
NIOSH-certified respirator masks protect you from all of this, and the Stealth N100 is the best of the best. I won’t leave home without it in a pandemic world.
This post was written by April Armstrong who is CEO of AHA Insight , and founder of www.livecovidsafe.com