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Flu Masks

Yesterday I went shopping for flu masks... just in case things worsen (which I suspect they will). It is not flu season here in Hawaii, but it seems that many people are catching the flu (or something).

Just for the sake of argument, I assumed that it would be nice to have a "N95 respirator" type mask. So I started calling around. To make a long story short, I could only find one supply company here in Honolulu that had any for sale. One store said that they had sold out. Another said that they stopped carrying such masks because people were not buying them. I probably missed some stores, but the masks simply were not that widely available.

I went to the store I found and purchased 100 individually wrapped N95 respirator masks for about $120. I also purchased 120 more (better ones) online.

I am giving 5 masks to each of my family members to put in their cars. These are for unexpected use. I also have more at home and work.

Here is my point. I am just one person. If everyone suddenly starting looking for these things, I think there would be a problem. I don't think that the government will just hand them out. And regular masks that you can get at the hardware store might not be good enough. (See the cdc.gov website for its guidelines.)

And one mask can only be used once. They are not good for repeated use. Let's say I have a family of six. In one month, if each person used a mask each day, that is 180 masks! So buying 100 does not sound like that much.

The main thing in Karate is to be prepared (just like Boy Scouts). The time to look for something is before you need it. I have a feeling that buying the right masks if the swine flu pandemic worsens will be like trying to buy a generator during a hurricane. In Hawaii, we know how hard that can be!

Plan ahead.

A last thought. Paying $120 for 100 masks sounds like a lot. But some of the toner cartridges I buy for work cost that much. When you need them, you will probably be willing to pay a great deal... if you can find any. Cost is relative... think about your relatives.


Charles C. Goodin