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4 Important Things to Know Before Buying an N95 or KN95 Respirator Mask

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By    |   Monday, 18 January 2021 02:59 PM

With more businesses opening, it is more important than ever to practice COVID-19 precautionary measures. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said that even people who have received their first COVID-19 vaccine should continue to wear masks and take necessary precautions to avoid infection from the virus.

While wearing any mask is better than wearing no mask at all, say experts, like everything else in life, some faced coverings are better and will keep you safer than others. Though people have gone wardrobe-wild with innovative masks — there is even a diamond studded version selling for a cool $1.5 million — the plain, white N95 and KN95 respirators offer superior protection. But there are many counterfeit and less protective versions of these in the marketplace, so it is a case of buyer beware.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges all Americans to wear their masks anytime they are in public or around people who are not in their household. The N95 and KN95 respirators are more protective than cloth masks because they filter out 95% of viruses, bacteria and other particles, while allowing you to breathe comfortably. They are also more durable and water-resistant than other types of masks. The difference in designation comes from the country of origin where the mask has been certified. N95 face coverings are certified in the U.S., while KN95’s are certified in China.

Here’s what to look for to make sure you are getting the real deal.

  1. Authenticity. According to Newsweek, this is by far the biggest issue when it comes to personal protective equipment or PPE. There are many counterfeit versions of the N95 and KN95 masks,according to the CDC, and the agency has a website dedicated to spotting these fake face coverings. All respirator-type masks must be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a U.S. federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury. NIOSH-approved face masks have an approval label on the packaging as well as on the respiratory itself. You can also search the NIOSH database for authenticity.
  2. Breathability. N95 masks have better breathability than the Chinese tested KN95 face coverings according to Newsweek. But they both are rigorously tested before they go on the market.
  3. Affordability. While counterfeits are flooding the market, make sure you find a reputable supplier that you can rely on. According to Newsweek, N95 Medical Supplies, is a trusted source offering a wide price range.
  4. Quality. Check everything from the packaging to the label, say experts, to ensure the N95 and KN95 masks have many layers of polypropylene polymer that is water resistance. Check the straps to make certain that the mask fits correctly and snugly over both your nose and mouth.

If your work requires you to be around many people in enclosed spaces, you need the best protection available. Healthcare workers should definitely opt for a superior respirator mask such as the N95 which filters 95% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. The “N” stands for non-oil, so it will not work as well in an oil-based environment.

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With more businesses opening, it is more important than ever to practice COVID-19 precautionary measures. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said that even people...
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Monday, 18 January 2021 02:59 PM
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