N-95 respirator masks are the latest hot item in "flu preparedness", but does it work? Yes. Yes. N-95 respirator masks were created to protect healthcare workers against airborne diseases such as chickenpox, tuberculosis, and flu. Although they do work in controlled conditions, the general public will not be able to use them.
As a form of 'protection' against flu, reusable clear face coverings were used for the first time during the 1918 flu epidemic. Although it was unlikely to be effective, laws were passed and those who did not wear masks were considered "mask slackers", who could be imprisoned, fined, or simply ostracized.
People are reverting to wearing masks as the swine influenza continues to infect more Americans. The N-95 Respirator Mask, which is more advanced and cost-effective, is now all the rage. It is also not the same surgical masks used by nurses and doctors today.
These specialized equipment are designed to protect hospital workers from 'airborne' illnesses such as chickenpox, tuberculosis, and influenza. These are all very small infectious particles that remain airborne even after they have been exhaled by infected persons.
Wearers of N 95 respirators are protected against flu, at least when they are used correctly. N 95 respirators are airtight and designed to protect wearers from particles as small as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is approximately 45 nanometers wide or 1/2 micron in size. At approximately 80-120 nanometers, the swine flu virus is near twice as big.