by Marius, Survival Blog:
I want to start off by saying that some of what I will discuss here is based on simple facts, and some is based on nothing but my own meandering experience. I am not a doctor, and nothing I say here should in any way be construed as medical advice. This article does not in any way constitute respirator training.
With the outbreak of the unknown virus overseas, I have seen a lot of questions about respirators. I hope to answer some of those questions here, just please be patient if I cover things too poorly. Most people are asking about what are called N95 respirators, which are also known as filtering facepiece respirators. The three most important things up front are that these respirators are extremely and importantly different from common dust masks and surgical masks, and only work on particulates. Common dust masks look very similar, but they usually only have one strap instead of two. They will not be stamped NIOSH N95. I will cover what that means shortly. Most importantly, dust masks are not rated to meaningfully filter the air you are breathing. They can help, which is why people wear them, but for virus protection they would be little better than a wet rag.