Should a mask be worn to prevent illness?

In the wake of recent global health news, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself from viral illnesses, and if you can and/or should do so by using a mask.  

Our filters block 99.9% of particulates down to .1 micron – a rate that is known to be effective toward most airborne pathogens like influenza and SARS, especially in the form of large droplets.*

Some reports mention that disposable/surgical (paper, cloth, etc.) masks do not provide adequate levels of protection from getting sick. These masks not only provide little in the way of filtration capability in blocking out particulate matter but are often loose-fitting; a tight seal around the mouth/face is necessary to provide an adequate level of protection for your lungs. Additionally, disposable masks are not intended to be washed and/or reused.

 

On the contrary, surgical-type masks are suggested to be used by those who are already experiencing symptoms or have a diagnosed illness to reduce the chances of infecting others. The CDC recommends that if you suspect you or a member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19, a face mask should be worn.  

 

Healthline sources a University of Michigan study of the spread of influenza in 1,000 students living in residence halls: “The results showed that those who wore masks in residence halls and practiced good handwashing reduced their risk of flu-like illness by an astonishing 75 percent.”

 

Masks of any type, therefore, should NOT be used as a replacement of proper hygiene to ward off illness. As mentioned above, though, they can be used in assisting prevention – just keep in mind that the CDC also recommends washing your hands regularly and observing good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

According to a report from the BBC News: “’Research also shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing facemasks for prolonged periods.’”  In other words, consistency is key and practicing regular hygiene is essential in the prevention of disease.

  

As always, if you have additional questions about your personal health or are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, influenza or another viral illness, contact your doctor or other experienced health professional.

 

*Although we typically recommend changing filters after 40 to 60 hours of use, this will depend on your environment. If you are using our masks against airborne pathogens, the mask must be washed with a sterilizing soap and filter replaced after each wear for maximum efficiency in preventing exposure and spread. 

Please be aware that our M1, M2, and M2.5 masks only filter the air being breathed in and not the air being breathed out. Because of this, they will only provide filtration for those wearing the mask. If you believe you have been infected, our masks will not protect those around you from the spread of infection. There are multiple ways the COVID-19 virus can be contracted, and we recommend following all prevention measures provided by the CDC and WHO. 

 

28 comments

john

are filters available now. why nobody answers the questions?

john
Gail Crosby

Can I wash the filters in the washing machine? Thanks!

Gail Crosby
Jeff Ellis

Where are al the ANSWERS to everyone’s questions? Lots of questions here, but no answers from RZ. What point is there having a forum or place to ask if you don’t answer? And as I just bought an RZ-2.5 mesh mask, am disturbed to see that people have been asking “When will I be able to get replacement filters” for at least 5 months now. What’s the holdup with the filters for your clients????

Jeff Ellis
Greg

I asked the same question on this site just as I was purchasing them last week. “How long do you recommend using the filters in this current situation?” I looked everywhere on the site for this information…I don’t recall seeing it in this FAQ section…only the expected hours of use. I suppose it’s possible that I missed it, but honestly I’ve been researching these and waiting for availability. This latest recommendation to replace the filters after every use seems to be brand new. I also had previously seen a disinfectant spray which I don’t see on the site anymore. In short, I’m pretty disappointed. With no filters available anywhere, these will be useless to me. I can use them twice, and then I’m stuck waiting for some luck to find filters. Without getting off track, I would expect that the life of the virus plays into the use of the filters. What I mean by that is, if you remove the filter, wash the mask, and replace with a new filter…why would it not be acceptable to reuse that filter again after, say, the expected life of the virus on that particular surface/compound? But what do I know – I’m not a epidemiologist. I understand the legal obligations of companies, so I can see why this is now the recommendation – and I suppose that I don’t really expect an answer as to when this info was actually updated on the website. I do hope that the team is healthy and well, and I hope that you are able to make the filters more readily available soon. Signed – frustrated buyer.

Greg
LM

Hello, I just purchased our RZ masks several weeks ago and like them just fine. I specifically purchased them for Covid-19 since the filtration of the filters prove similar to the Cambridge mask over in the UK. However when I purchased these masks, for very compromised immune systems, one had a recent kidney transplant, I did not realize the filters had to be changed daily for Covid-19 use, mainly because that information was not on this website at the time of my purchase. Without being able to get the filters these masks are essentially useless, which makes them very expensive for something you can only wear one time. Now I realize the cloth part of mask can be worn again, but without a filter, again, it’s useless and it becomes problematic when there’s no way to get them on the website. I’m not sure why we cannot get filters unless the company is making them all for essential personnel only… however non-essential personnel need to have them too because if we wear them then it’s going to decrease the spread and make the job of the essential personnel workers much easier. Or, perhaps the reason we can’t get the filters is because the company is unable to get the supplies needed to make these filters, but whichever way it goes, it’s still useless for us to wear them if we don’t have clean filters for them., plus very expensive to change them out each time you wear them. So are we left to create a way to make our own filters for these masks??! I’d like to know how the company is going to address this issue, and if they’re going to actually address my concerns. That alone will determine if I’ll be buying them again, as it should everyone else.

LM
Jay

This is all terrific information. But if you can’t get replacement filters, it’s hard to dispose of them after each use.

Jay
Scott Wykle

I have to have a liver Transplant. Would you recommend a rz mask to prevent any type of infection due to my altered immune system please let me know. I’ve got to wear a mask would you say that this mask will do the trick

Scott Wykle
susan

I understand that RZMasks have one-way valves, so breathing OUT doesn’t go through the filter. If that is indeed the case, then this mask would NOT protect others around you if YOU are infected with COVID-19. And would not be suitable for this situation.

susan
Glenn Geise

I am 67 and have compromising lung conditions. When will you be making masks and filters available again?

Glenn Geise
Alyson Brignac

I bought several of these masks in February for family and friends in addition to numerous filters leading up to the current crisis. I also have several hundred 3M N95 form fitting particulate respirators from a concrete involved construction last year. Donated many to local EMS. Anyway …. please remember …. when you are removing your RZ Mask …. ideally you should be wearing disposable gloves. IF there are droplets that have been captured by your mask and you touch the outside of the mask with your hand / skin exposed when removing it … you have just transferred whatever was on the outside of the mask directly onto your skin. Because it takes a bit of effort to remove the filter … wearing gloves is the best methodology. AND…. do not remove the mask IN your home. Do it in a safe place just outside of your home … porch. Special section of garage. A location where potentially disturbing droplets on the mask you are removing won’t cause another contamination issue. Remove your mask with gloves. Remove the filter also with gloves. Discard the filter. We have a special garbage can lined with bag with sealed lid set up exclusively for discarded filters. Simultaneous to this …. have someone else (who wasn’t with you and is in the safe area of your home) put sanitizing cleanser in your washing machine with HOT water (132 F and above will kill COVID-19) and have it ready. After you have safely discarded the used filter …. take one glove off. Hold the mask with the other glove. Clean the exposed hand thoroughly with a sanitizing wipe. Walk to your house … having someone meet you at the door to open the door. Go straight to your laundry room without jiggling or shaking the mask in your gloved hand. Drop it into the washing machine. Using your clean hand … grab a baggie and put the 2nd glove in it … remembering to take the glove off inside out. Seal the baggie. Drop it in the garbage. Congratulations. You just effectuated the proper way to remove a possibly deadly virus contaminated mask and filter. I do this every single time I go out. Perhaps twice per week. Once you cognizantly think about your end goal …. it takes much less time and effort. Visualize the virus droplets as loose baby powder on the outside of your mask. And in the filter. You want to get them off of your face with as little movement and disruption as possible. And you don’t want to transfer them to anything or anyone else while you are removing them. And you don’t want the outside of the mask or filter to come into contact with any skin, clothes or other surfaces. Otherwise, you just negated what you were attempting to do and have created a subsequent contamination area. Also … while you are wearing the mask …. DON’T touch the outside of it. Ever. If there are droplets …. you just transferred them to your hand. If you gloves … remember that everything you touch with those gloves is adhering to the gloves. Don’t take them off and then put back on. You need to treat the removal of your gloves as importantly as the removal of your mask and filter. Good luck.

Alyson Brignac
Larry

With regards to disposable masks, you have to be especially careful in handling the mask to ensure the concentration of contaminants on the mask is not transferred during the removal of the mask. I don’t think this changes for the RZ Mask, in fact probably some discussion related to the washing/decontamination of the RZ Masks would be helpful. In addition, if the filters have to be replaced after every use, then the current availability of the filters make the RZ Mask option challenging.

Larry
Jackie Cowart

I have the RZ mask. Love It. Need More filters. Any Ideal When available. Thanks.

Jackie Cowart
Patsy Cormirt

Received my first mask bought by my employer. Wore it about 3 hours during clinic and when I took it off I could smell a strange musky odor . Mentioned it to the doctor and he said the mask filtered so well and cleaned the air we were breathing. Didn’t realize how contaminated the air I was breathing was. Thanks for a great product. Will order another when you get more in. Love this mask

Patsy Cormirt
M

At first the health workers in China were wearing N95 masks and still getting sick. They then realize that they were getting infected through their eyes. That is why people are wearing goggles and masks.

M
Jo

Denise, it seems that same guy has also commented on this thread below (on March 1) that that’s exactly what he WILL do: wear the mask and goggles. Is Kirkand a big city? I guess I will wear the mask and rubber gloves, pushing the grocery cart at the store in my city, too…

Jo
Denise Engle

Theres actually a dude in Kirkland that is walking around in public wearing a facemask and GOGGLES?? That doesnt beat Conan with a broadsword strapped to his back in the financial district of Seattle but it comes mighty close!

Denise Engle
Tawnja

I suffer from a severe lung disease and neurological disorder, so my doctor informed me that I needed to purchase a N95 mask. I found your RZ M2 Model Mask, and it passed all the test compared to all the other masks on the market for me. I am a person deathly allergic to Latex, and all other products were made with this. I am so grateful for your mask and I look too order more, so I am able to change too the back up when I need to clean it.

Tawnja
Dan Horton

N95 respirators are specified by the CDC At the special website for COVID-19 health crisis. Does RZ have N95 spec filters? Respirators, when required to protect HCP from airborne contaminants such as infectious agents, must be used in the context of a comprehensive, written respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard. The program should include medical evaluations, training, and fit testing. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirators-strategy/index.html https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134

Dan Horton
Ellen Ketcham

Thank you for your professional perspective.

Ellen Ketcham
JWilli

Thanks for your honest opinion and for the quoted information. If you could just send out an email with production updates for your regular customers, I think that would be appreciated. Keep up the good work!

JWilli
Gerald C

I live in Kirkland, WA, and ordered masks and filters for me and my kid last summer for a re-insulation project. Wow, so glad I have your product on hand for me and my family yesterday. I won’t go in public now without it and goggles on. Super comfortable and easy breathing compared to the hardware store disposable poly filters.

Gerald C
Arthur Wait

I use your mask on a daily basis to filter particulates and smells due to severe allergies. I was wondering how soon I will be able to order more supplies for mine. At this point with all the hysteria with this co vid 19 virus I can’t even find a regular dust mask to use for health and safety in my workplace. I know you guys and gals are working hard to provide more but is there any timeframe on the availability of your product being restocked ?

Arthur Wait
Audrey

So far, washing your hands a lot and not touching your face mouth and eyes is your best bet.

Audrey
Sia

Can either of the F1, F2, or F3 filters be used with M2 model mask?

Sia
Pau

Will this mask help prevent COVID-19, and what is the actual rating of the filter? I currently use a mask with an N95 rating.

Pau

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