Where do I buy REAL medical-grade masks?

There are a lot of blue face masks for sale on Amazon, but they all seem to carry the disclaimer of “not for medical use - not proven to reduce transmission of disease.” Well, fuck that, I want a real medical mask that is for medical use and is proven to reduce transmission of disease. So is it possible for me to obtain them? Or is the whole stockpile still depleted, necessitating people to resort to these non-medical masks?

There are continued shortages. Save the actual medical masks for actual medical personnel, who have had to ration masks and even reuse them.

I thought medical masks are nowhere near as effective as the ones people that due hazardous waste and fumes use.

The hospitals and doctors offices where I go (Kaiser) used to keep a box them at every entrance for people to grab. I think they began doing that during the Swine Flu scare a few years back, maybe even before that.

Now due to the shortages, they don’t have masks at every entrance any more.

But for a few years, I always grabbed one or two extra every time I was there. So I have a small stash (maybe half a dozen) now.

They are thin and papery and flimsy, intended for single-use only. So I’ve started using them, but they really aren’t going to go very far.

The research lab I work at is still unable to get them. They’re on “Covid allocation”, according to the suppliers.

There are different such masks for different purposes. It can depend on just what chemical or fume you’re trying to keep out – the mask that will keep out one material may not work for another, and vice versa.

If you’re trying to keep out covid-19, apparently what’s effective is N-95’s, which are pretty much at the bottom of the scale for hazardous waste/fumes/toxic pesticides etc., a lot of which need something considerably more drastic.

But as others have been saying, they’re still in short supply, and medical people have first claim. A year ago I could have told you a dozen places to get N-95’s; and by a year from now – maybe sooner – I expect they’ll be around again. But right now, the answer to where do you buy them is, unless you’re a medical establishment you don’t.

My brother is Health and Safety managing director for a large international company. He can’t get them. His last attempt was a $24000 wire transfer in March to a company in Canada, for N95’s priced at 10X the usual. They were confiscated at the border by the US government never to be seen again.

This. Some respirator filters are fantastic for certain types of fumes but very ineffective against particles. Others are good for both. You need to read and understand the labels.

If you guys are talking about respirators like the kind they wear on Breaking Bad, that’s not going to work for me. I need masks to wear inside a semi cab while I drive with my training instructor next to me. I can’t wear anything as bulky as a respirator. Right now I’ve been using a homemade cloth mask sewed by my mom, with a bandana over it. Even that is too bulky and sticks out into my peripheral vision and muffles my voice. I need a simple, small, medical mask with a tight seal.

You may be able to find KN95 masks. They are similar to N95 masks but not used in medical settings. Here is one place: https://wyze.com/face-masks.html

One thing you can do to make a safer environment in the cab is to have as much fresh air as possible. Have the windows open. Make sure the AC is not on recirculate. Outdoor environments are safer than indoor, so do what you can to make the cab have fresh air constantly blowing through.

Another thing you might be able to do is put a plexiglass partition between the driver and the passenger. This should help keep the breath from each person separated.

The problem with KN95 masks is there’s zero quality control for those things.

I wouldn’t trust my life to a KN95 mask. Since I don’t want to get coronavirus I’m not entering a store or public building until I can get a real N95 mask or there’s a vaccine.

We’ve been told specifically NOT to buy medical masks, which are needed by NHS personnel. Do your medical staff a favour.

I’ve seen several C stores selling those. They’re made in China which seems counter productive.

Why, do you think they’re pre-loaded with Covid-19?

With the high demand for masks, some suppliers will cut corners or just make phony masks. So rather than using the approved materials which have gone up greatly in cost, they’ll use lower grade or imitation materials instead. If the mask says it meets some requirement, that may be meaningless without some kind of trusted validation.
Even masks which say they are from a company like 3M may be counterfeit. Chinese companies will make masks which look exactly like the original, but are made with phony materials. You’re probably safe getting masks from major companies who have established relationships with suppliers (like Home Depot), but you won’t really know for sure what you’re getting if you order masks directly from a Chinese supplier.

The risk isn’t that they have CV19 virus. The risk is that you think you have X level of protection but it’s really much lower than that.

Ouch!! Did his company receive any compensation? Surely that’s illegal?

My husband tried ordering 3 N-95s for the household in late February. Yeah, we didn’t need them… and he actually got rooked because it was a scam website. So don’t try to order from EM General! (the owner of the site was actually arrested for fraud recently).

Last night I looked at Amazon masks again; I’d last looked two weeks ago and the NON-N-95 ‘surgical’-type masks were for sale, but all delivery dates were sometime in August. Last night they had immediate shipping from several companies (about US$20 for 50 disposable masks). The page had a dividing line at the bottom for the real particle-blocking type of mask (N-95) and indicated that some proof of working in a medical setting would be required for purchase.

My interest is in getting a mask that will satisfy face-covering requirements and will be less heat-stroke-inducing than my current hand-made fabric masks. We’ve had a lot of days when the high was 97 degrees F, and the humidity is well up there…so heat stroke is a real issue for many. For me, the fabric masks are an issue because of the heat; I’ll wear my mask no matter what, but if the disposable masks keep my temperature down then they are worth coming up with the price.

BUT—without getting into political ranting, I find it amazing that the USA doesn’t have a plentiful supply of the actually-effective-against-Coronavirus N-95s. We are six months into this thing.

No one should be expecting to have to wait a year for N-95s, nor have their purchased masks confiscated.

Something is very wrong. That’s all I’ll say in this sub-forum, but…something is very wrong.

Yeah, the non-N-95 disposables are now pretty generally available. I got a box of 50 shipped from Staples a couple weeks back and have since seen them other places.

The N-95’s, I believe, are still short; medical people already. And yes, the USA should have had them – should have had more in emergency stocks to begin with, and should have had a plan for rapidly gearing up to produce more.

If it’s for COVID it spreads through droplets so even ordinary cloth is moderately effective.

N-95’s are a big step up from cloth but terribly uncomfortable to wear for hours at a time. Ear loop surgical masks are much more comfortable but as others mentioned hospitals are still having trouble getting the supplies they need. If you must buy them please do not hoard.

If you have a current citation for hospitals having trouble getting the non-N-95 disposables, could you share it?

It seems unlikely to be true, because Amazon wouldn’t be selling 50-per boxes of the NON-N-95 disposables–and I saw at least twenty companies selling them, when I looked last night–if that type of mask was still in short supply in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

So I don’t think using them can be considering “hoarding” at this point. But of course public opinion doesn’t always follow facts. People wearing the NON-N-95 disposable masks may be targeted for harassment by those who, well, enjoy enforcing what they believe to be the facts, regardless of what the facts actually are. Such people are a permanent component of humanity, of course.

So when I get these in the mail, and then try using one on the theory that I might be able to withstand 97 degrees better in one of those than in my cloth masks, I may well meet up with bullies.

That seems to be part of the current climate—springtime for bullies, as it were.