Face Masks & Respirators: Choosing the Right Type for the Protection You Need

When it comes to health, we all want the best for ourselves and our families. With Coronavirus (COVID 19) and flu season in full peak, many are seeking out ways to protect themselves from particles in the air that can be infectious. Face masks and respirators are two types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that are used to protect the wearer from liquid and airborne particles that may potentially come in contact with their nose and mouth. Both are a part of an infection-control strategy; however, there are significant differences between the two. Choosing the right mask is critical in helping protect the health and safety for yourself and those around you.

What are Face Masks?

A face mask is a disposable, loose-fitting, and comfortable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer. The mask provides protection from potential contaminants in the immediate environment and may come with or without a face shield. Offered in a variety of thicknesses, some are able to protect more than others when coming into contact with fluids.

A face mask is meant to help block splashes, sprays, or large particle droplets of blood or bodily fluids that may contain bacteria or viruses from reaching the mouth and nose. Face masks also help protect others against infection from the person wearing the mask.

There are two main types of medical face masks; surgical face masks and procedure face masks.

The Difference Between a Surgical and Procedure Face Mask

Clinicians wear a surgical mask when they need to protect themselves and the environment around them from contamination such as fluids and debris in the operating room. Surgical masks usually feature ties so that they can be adjusted for a comfortable fit.

A procedure mask, on the other hand, is typically used as more of an etiquette device to prevent the spreading of germs through talking, sneezing, and coughing. They are also used to protect both a doctor and patient during routine medical procedures such as dental cleaning or physical exams. Procedure masks feature ear loops, making them easy to put on and take off.

According to ASTM, surgical and procedure face masks are offered in 3 different levels of protection. ASTM International is one of the largest standards for the testing of face masks in 5 different areas recognized by the FDA.

What is ASTM?

ASTM refers to the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). ASTM is one of the world’s largest international standards organization that develops and publishes technical standards that cover areas such as construction, metal, paints, the environment, consumer products, medical devices and service, and so much more.

ASTM performs a test on the surgical and procedure masks and then assigns a numerical rating for the barrier performance of the material at the follow 3 different levels:

  • Level 1 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a low risk of fluid exposure.
  • Level 2 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a moderate risk of fluid exposure.
  • Level 3 – Face masks that are ideal for environments that have a high risk of fluid exposure

How Are Face Masks Tested?

The FDA, who oversees the sale and marketing of all surgical masks, recommends that manufacturers demonstrate mask performance in 5 areas:

  1. Fluid Resistance – Test that evaluates the resistance of a medical face mask to the penetration of a small volume of synthetic blood at a high velocity.
  2. Breathability – Test to determine the face mask’s resistance to airflow.
  3. Bacterial Filtration (BFE) – Test that measures the percentage of bacteria (less than 1 micron) filtered out by the mask.
  4. Particulate Filtration (PFE) – Test that measures the percentage of particles larger than 1 micron filtered out by the mask.
  5. Flammability – Test that exposes the face mask material to a flame and measures the time required for the flame to proceed up the material.

Both surgical and procedure face masks may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, but they do not block or filter the very small particles in the air during medical procedures. Because of the loose fit  of these types of face masks, they don’t  provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants. A respirator may be a better choice for protection from dusts and microorganisms, as well as other hazardous vapors and fumes.

What is a Respirator?

A respirator is a device worn over the mouth and nose or the entire face to protect and prevent the inhalation of dangerous chemicals and other contaminants. According to OSHA, there are two main types of respirators, as described below.

Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator

An atmosphere-supplying respirator is used in environments with limited or no oxygen or areas with contaminated air. This type of respirator supplies the wearer with clean air directly from another source other than the air around them. A good example of this type of respirator is the Self -Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) that firefighters wear upon enter a building filled with smoke and other hazardous chemicals.

Other industries that would require workers to use an atmosphere-supplying respirator would be welders, pipefitters, municipal road pavers, and imdustrial plant workers.

Air-Purifying Respirator

An air-purifying respirator, on the other hand, filters out the contaminants in the air around the wearer that is being inhaled. This type of respirator features either filters, canisters, or cartridges that remove the contaminants passing through the purifying element.

The N95 air-purifying repirators are good examples of air-purifying respirators and are often used in hospital settings to protect against transmission of infectious diseases. As you breathe, this respirator cleans and blocks at least 95% of the very small particles out of the air. When properly fitted, this mask does not allow any gaps around the face for contaminants to enter, forcing the air to be pulled through the respirator’s filter material.

These respirators are intended for use in low hazardous areas and do not protect against chemicals, gases, or vapors where you would need to choose an alternate air-purifying respirator, such as a full face gas and vapor respirator.

Can Anyone Wear a Respirator?

Anytime you put a device over your nose and mouth, breathing becomes more difficult. Wearing a respirator may be challenging for those with lung diseases such as emphysema or asthma. Some people with vision problems find it hard to see while wearing a respirator. Luckily, there are special respirators for people who wear glasses.

The N95 respirator can also make breathing more difficult for the elderly and those with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions. It is advised that children and those with facial hair should not wear this type of respirator as a proper tight fit will be difficult to achieve for the needed protection.

Where to Buy Face Masks and Respirators

At Personally Delivered, we carry a wide range of face masks and respirators. Depending on the environment you are exposed to, determines what type of face mask or respirator you’ll require to breathe safely and be protected from infectious diseases and other hazardous contaminants around you.  Always consult with your doctor about what is best for your specific needs.

For any questions about the face masks and respirators we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away.

Staying Active Over the Holidays

The holidays are about celebrating with our families and that usually involves a lot of food, sugary beverages, desserts, and often sitting around inside our homes. The weather is colder and the thought of outdoor activities might not be the first thing on our minds. For some, that may be difficult due to age or the need to use an assistive device such as a wheelchair or cane.

A lot of us give up our regular routines around the holidays and end up feeling guilty about not maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. We may tell ourselves that we are allowed this cheat time and will get back to that schedule once the celebrations are over. Sometimes this leads to untimately not picking that routine back up and ending up in an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle.

Holiday Excercise Tips

Plan Short Workouts

Roasting a turkey? Baking a pie? Use this time to create a quick workout that you could do right in your home. If you have stairs you could take a few trips up and down to get your heart rate up. Those that have a home gym or treadmill might incorporate a simple workout when you have an opportune time while food prepping. There are also short fitness videos or apps on your phone that you might try while you wait for company to arrive.

BONUS: Think outside the box. If you have canned goods and water bottles, do a few reps lifting those overhead or doing some lateral raises.

Get the Family Engaged

After everyone has eaten and their stomachs are full, instead of heading to the couch to either pass out or watch football, round everyone up and head outside. Everyone could go to the backyard, a park, or even sledding if weather permits. There are plenty of outdoor games such as cornhole, badminton, tag, or even hide and seek. If there is a basketball court nearby, that is another option. When everyone is involved, it can be an afternoon of family bonding while burning some of those calories from the feast!

Take a Walk

Put on some comfortable shoes and go for a walk. Walking is a low-impact exercise that has many benefits. Not only does it get the heart pumping, but is a less strainful physical activity. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood and take in the fresh air. Walking can also be one of those short workouts while you wait for a casserole to bake.

BONUS: If you have a family dog, this would be a great time to have them accompany you.

Park the Car Further Out

When you are out shopping for food or gifts this time of year, consider parking in a spot that is farther away from the store entrance. This will ensure that you will have a decent distance to walk and you can rack up those steps on your fitness tracker.

Don't Let Incontinence Stop You

If you suffer from incontinence, you may be worried about being active and are also concerned about involuntary episodes while you’re around family and friends this time of year. There are plenty of things that you can do during the holidays to allow you to stay involved and enjoy every moment.

Watch Your Fluids

Although drinking water before a meal may help you to avoid overeating during the season, if you have urinary incontinence, you might want to slightly hold back from consuming too much and too often. Try to stay properly hydrated, but limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you’re consuming, especially when you are going to workout. You are more likely to have an accident if your bladder is irritated from the caffeine.

Empty Your Bladder Often

Prior to heading out for a walk, beginning an activity with family, or doing a short exercise while your turkey is in the oven, be mindful of emptying your bladder instead of trying to hold it. This will help to avoid any strain on the bladder and may help to lessen any leakage while trying to enjoy your day.

Use Protective Products

As with any type of incontinence, using the right protective hygiene products is key. For light to moderate urine loss, pantie liners, pads, and male guards should be used. Moderate to heavy urine loss calls for either a belted undergarment, pull-on, or tab brief. You’ll feel more confident and secure when you are being active if you are properly protected.

BONUS: Wear loose-fitting black pants! In the event that you have a leak, black can help hide the evidence and the loose-fit of the clothing can also help hide the extra protection you are wearing.

The most important thing that you can do around the holidays is focus on enjoying all the moments with the ones you love. Take it easy on yourself and know that you are not able to control everything that happens. With a few of these tips, we hope that you can try not to veer too far away from your normal routine and remain active all through the holidays.

For more information on any of the products we offer if you suffer from incontinence, please give us a call or contact us now and one of our Product Experts would be happy to help.

BONUS: Save $5 now on your first order of $30 or more by cicking HERE. Keep checking back for even more savings throughout the coming year.

Maintaining a Healthy Bladder

Similar to a balloon, the bladder is a hollow organ made of tissue that stretches and holds our urine until we are ready to release. It is part of our urinary system that includes the kidneys and urethra. We all use our bladder several times each and every day, but do we know how to keep this organ healthy?

There are several things that can affect the health of our bladder. We will discuss what those are, the signs that you should look for, and how you might be able to prevent them here.

What Can Affect the Bladder's Health

Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect many parts of the body and can lead to other health problems such as nerve damage. The bladder is made up of many nerves that could be damaged by diabetes. This damage could affect a person’s bladder control.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

When bacteria grows in the urethra and bladder, a UTI has occurred. A bladder infection is the most common type of UTI and can cause urinary urge incontinence. This is when there is a frequent and sudden need to urinate and may also cause you to leak urine before making it to the restroom. One common activity that might cause a UTI is the use of a catheter to urinate. Indwelling catheters introduce bacteria into the lining of the bladder, causing irritation and infection. Closed catheter systems may be helpful in preventing UTIs.

Constipation

Constipation can happen when a person doesn’t have enough fiber in their diet, are taking certain medications, have a medical condition, or are inactive for long periods of time. This puts pressure on the bladder because of the stool that is built up in the colon. The bladder is unable to stretch like it should, therefore affecting the bladder’s health.

Being Overweight

When a person carries a lot of extra weight, it increases pressure on the abdomen and bladder. This can also contribute to the weakening of the pelvic muscles and result in leakage from the bladder.

Smoking

You may not think smoking has any relation to the health of one’s bladder, but the opposite is the case. Smoking causes harmful chemicals to collect in the urine and affect the bladder’s lining. This can ultimately lead to bladder cancer. Because the chemicals from smoking make their way directly into the bloodstream, they are filtered into the kidneys potentially forming ‘stones’. Kidney stones pass through the urethral tract, which can be a painful process. Also, ‘Smoker’s Cough’ can cause spasms in the bladder and lead to leakage.

Signs You May Have a Bladder Problem

Every person is different, therefore each person’s bladder behaves differently and some signs you may be experiencing could mean you have a problem with your bladder.

Come of the most common signs of a bladder probem are:

  • Strong and frequent urges to urinate (urinary urge incontinence)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Waking up multiple times throughout the night to go to the bathroom
  • Leaking urine or the unability to hold it until you get to a restroom (urinary incontinence)
  • Experiencing a burning sensation before, during, or after urinating
  • Problems fully emptying your bladder

Just like any other health concern, always consult your doctor for their professional opinion if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They may be able to do some testing to see if your bladder is actually in an unhealthy state and offer the right treatment options available to you if necessary.

Some Tips to Keep a Healthy Bladder

Even though we cannot control everything that happens to our overall health, including our bladder, we can take some measures to improve the health of our bladder. Here are a few suggestions that may contribute to keeping your bladder healthy:

Stay Active and Maintain a Healthy Weight

As we mentioned earlier, keeping your weight down will lessen any pressure on the bladder and allow you to release urine when it’s actually full. Exercising will also help to maintain a healthy weight and prevent possible constipation that can irritate the bladder.

Drink Enough Water

Try to drink the equivalent to your body weight in ounces of water each day. For most, this is 6-8 glasses of water per day. The bladder loves water and it is one of the best fluids that can help maintain its health. When you are getting enough fluids, your urine can flow freely and should be pale in color and odor-free.

Limit Intake of Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol are known to increase bladder activity and can lead to a higher frequency and urgency to urinate. Reducing the intake of these types of beverages may help decrease these symptoms.

Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Known as Kegel exercises, doing pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the pelvic muscles and prevent leaking. The stronger the muscles, the better the bladder is at holding in the urine until you can use a restroom.

Void Often and When You Need To

Try to never hold the need to use the restroom. Holding urine in the bladder for extended periods of time can not only lead to a bladder infection, but it can also weaken the muscles.

Make Sure to Wipe Correctly

For females, be sure to wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This process will help keep bacteria away from the urethra that could cause a UTI as we previously mentioned.

Maintaining a healthy bladder is good for your general health and an important organ to take care of. Should you have a medical condition that causes you to have urinary incontinence or urge incontinence, we offer products that might help you confidently get through your days and nights. As always, consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns that your bladder is not functioning properly.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2019

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia and it is ranked as one of the leading causes of death in the United States. When someone loses their ability to think, reason, and remember things to a degree that it begins to interfere with their daily activities, dementia has begun to set in.

Changes in the brain cause dementia and can be difficult to pinpoint at first because they may develop well before the cognitive problems appear. Once Alzheimer’s has set in, neurons die off and the brain begins to shrink in size. Because this is a progressive illness, Alzheimer’s slowly begins to interfere with the basic daily self-care functions and in the later stages, other medical conditions are common.

Walking to Show Support & Raise Awareness

On October 5th, our Personally Delivered Team will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Orlando, Florida. We are excited to show our support and raise awareness for such a debilitating disease.

We believe that supporting the continuous research, clinical trials, therapies and treatments that doctors and scientists are involved in every day, will help find a breakthrough and all will be able to have memories that last a lifetime.

By walking on this day, our team will be part of one of the world’s largest events to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. We will walk in memory of those that have lost their battle to Alzheimer’s as well as those that are currently fighting this disease.

What You Can Do

There are many ways to get involved if you know someone that has Alzheimer’s, are related to someone with the disease, are a caregiver, or just want to show some support. Here are a few we suggest:

1. Put Together a Team

Hundreds of communities across the country hold a Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Just like our team, the walk encourages teams and their participants to fundraise in a variety of ways. Once you sign up your team, you’ll receive a packet with a ton if useful information, ideas, and ways to set and achieve goals. It really can be a lot of fun for a cause that is so great!

2. Take the Purple Pledge

During the month of September, the Alzheimer’s Association encourages you to take the Purple Pledge and spread the word about this disease helping to inspire action and continue to raise awareness.

Take the Purple Pledge here: alz.org/pledge

3. Wear Purple to Show Your Support

You can simply wear purple on this day to show your support if you are unable to participate in or organize an event. This small effort is a way to contribute to the cause. Our Personally Delivered Team are Difference Makers every day!

4. Donate Financially

Consider making a financial contribution to a research organization. Many of these organizations are consistently looking for ways to raise money for studies and would largely benefit with the extra funding. Some organizations we suggest are the following:

 

 

5. Take Time for Yourself

Practicing self-care is one of the most important ways that you can potentially prevent Alzheimer’s from happening to you and those that are important to you. By eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest, you can reduce your stress levels and are acting proactively to possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

No matter what you choose to do to show your support this September, just know that every effort you make counts. The common goal is shared- joining together to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s in hopes that we can help end the disease.

For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease and other ways to get involved, visit National Institute on Aging or Alzheimer’s Association. As always, talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about symptoms that you or someone you know may be experiencing. Taking the proper precautionary steps early on may lead to making more memories later on.

Caring for Your Skin & Wounds in the Summer

School is out, and summer is here. This is the season for outdoor activities at beaches, parks, pools, and all places near and far. For some, summer may present challenges when making sure our skin is safeguarded from bacteria, burns, and infection. Our skin is the largest organ of the body, and protecting it should be the first priority.

Just because you may be recovering from surgery or living with another condition like a diabetic foot ulcer doesn’t necessarily mean you must stay indoors (as long as your doctor hasn’t advised otherwise).

Since our skin is our most valuable protector, we need to be mindful about ways to protect it so we can relax and enjoy the warmer weather all season long. Here are some tips to aid in the care of your skin and wounds while delighting in those summer recreations.

  • Protect Your Skin – Everyone knows the sun emits damaging UV rays. Keeping your skin protected with sunscreen will prevent harmful and sometimes painful sunburns. Products that contain zinc work great to protect the skin from these rays while helping to seal out wetness to keep skin healthy. Covering wounds with dressings is also important as this tissue is more delicate than normal skin. Unprotected wounds increase the risk of scarring.
  • Stay Hydrated – The chance of dehydration heightens in the summer months since we sweat and lose more moisture in the body. In order to repair and rebuild cells that are at a wound site, sufficient hydration is necessary to deliver fluids essential for healing.
  • Maintain Proper Nutrition – Along with proper hydration, consuming foods that are moisture-rich such as fruits and vegetables can aid in the healing of wounds and contribute to a boost in the immune system. Adding foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, and celery to your diet can be very beneficial in the wound healing process, not to mention for your overall health.
  • Keep a Supply of Bandages and Cleaning Solutions – Because we are typically more active in the summer months, bandages may become contaminated quickly with sweat and dirt. Frequently changing your wound dressings will help keep your wound dry and clean while supporting the healing process. Wound cleansers like saline solutions are designed to clean and irrigate wound sites and are great to keep with you when replacing dressings.
  • Reduce Germ Contact – In the event that you have an open wound and it cannot be completely covered, you may want to avoid coming into contact with open bodies of water that are perfect environments for bacteria to hang out. If you have a diabetic foot ulcer, it is important to take care of your feet. It is wise to avoid wearing flip flops or sandals, as these will allow for possible infection and/or ulceration to occur when feet are exposed to germs in the environment.

Whether you are going outside for a few minutes or headed out for a long day in the sun, caring for your skin and wounds should be a top priority.

We carry some of the highest quality skin and wound care products on the market at the best prices. Our Personal Product Advisors will help you decide what is right for your needs and make the selection process effortless so you can rest easy all summer long.

Contact us for any questions or to find the skin and wound care products that you may need. If your skin condition or wounds appear to be getting worse, make sure to get in touch with your doctor.

 

Welcome to our blog!

For more than 40 years, we have helped thousands of valued customers with their supplies that help them live and thrive with their medical conditions. Our vision is to offer relief and reliability to our customers by providing quality products and kind, efficient service. 

Personally Delivered offers the best choices of supplies that span a wide variety of needs, including urological, ostomy, incontinence, nutrition needs, and more. 

We understand that each customer is unique, so each order is customized and tailored to your needs. Our team takes great pride in providing superior service from the initial consultations and product selection to the delivery of your supplies directly to your door. 

We look forward to providing you with medical and health related news, helpful information and tips, related links to more in depth articles, and inspiring stories to put a smile on your face.

We’re happy you’re here for the journey!