Consistent and correct use of masks is an important step everyone may take to lower their risk of spreading and getting COVID-19. Masks work better when everyone uses them, yet not all masks offer the exact same protection. How well the mask filters the air, how well it fits, as well as how many layers it provides all are essential to consider while selecting which mask to use.
Using a mask around folks who don’t live with you or if someone in your home is sick is now more important than ever with the increased spread of new variants of COVID-19, some of which seem to spread more quickly and easily than the original virus causing COVID-19. See more to find out the best KN95 face mask for your needs.
KN95 face mask
N95 masks are a kind of filtering facepiece respirator commonly used and made in China. For some people or in some situations, A KN95 face mask might be preferable – particularly in situations requiring extended close contact with those who don’t reside in the same home, or for those at a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Here are three steps of how to choose the best one:
Search for a KN95 face mask that meets requirements like the ones established by CDC’s NIOSH for respirators. Some KN95 respirators that are sold in the U.S. meet requirements like the ones established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, while other KN95’s don’t.
Features of KN95 respirators
- Frequently feature ear loops that fit behind a wearer’s ears. But some available options contain head straps.
- Note: Don’t use a KN95 face mask that has exhalation valves because they enable respiratory droplets that contain the virus to escape.
Pros of these KN95 respirators: They filter about 95 percent of particles inside the air (once they meet the correct requirements and aren’t fake/counterfeit, and once the right fit is achieved).
Other considerations: It might be difficult to achieve the right fit with specific kinds of facial hair.
Principles of Mask Use
Here is a list of some principles for KN95 face mask use.
- Only be handled by the cords, head straps, or ear loops (and not by the mask’s surface)
- Fit tightly against the sides of a wearer’s face; not contain any gaps
- Fully cover the mouth and nose
Respirators should be worn:
- Inside the house, if someone you reside with is ill with COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for the virus
- When you’re around others who don’t reside with you, which includes inside your house or inside somebody else’s house
- Any time you’re traveling on a bus, plane, train, or other public transportation from traveling within, into, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs like stations and airports
- Any time you’re in a public setting
For more details on using a respirator and PPE (personal protective equipment) in a healthcare setting, check out this document: Interim Infection Prevention & Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During COVID-19 Pandemic.