Since the pandemic started, our lives have changed, adjusted and readjusted. But a few things have remained the same – namely the fact that we have to wear face masks when we are around others.
However, the emergence of new COVID-19 variants has resulted in updated guidelines and mesh mandates. The Omicron variant currently circulating is highly contagious, and although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccination is the best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death, you should still mask yourself.
Jen Caudle, a New Jersey-based family physician and associate professor at Rowan University, told HuffPost that she recommends that people upgrade their masks because of the high transmission rate of the omicron variant.
“It is estimated to be three times more transferable than the delta variant, “she said, referring to the variant that was previously the most widespread in the United States.” If we can upgrade our masks, it can help. ”
You can do this by double masking (in the right way) or by wearing an approved N95 or KN95 mask, which gets their names because they filter out at least 95% of airborne particles. KN95 and N95 masks also sit closer to your face than cloth or surgical masks, preventing holes that further expose your mouth and nose to airborne droplets.
The main difference between the two is that KN95 masks are kept to China’s standard and can be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, while N95 masks are strictly tested by The National Institute of Occupational Health.
According to the CDC, 60% of the respirators sold in the United States are counterfeit and does not meet the NIOSH requirements, so yYou want to make sure that your N95 and KN95 masks have the correct approvals.
“Those that are not NIOSH-approved simply may not be as effective for a variety of reasons,” Caudle said. “We do not know how they made the mask, or what materials they used.”
The CDC says that the easiest way to determine if the mask you are looking at is NIOSH approved is to search for it on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List. All NIOSH-approved respirators have a test and certification approval number to be printed on the items. It will look like this: TC 84A-XXXX. Respiratory masks that obtain NIOSH approval will also have specific markings printed on the face mask.
There is also an ongoing list of counterfeit breathing masks on the market that mislead NIOSH approval.
Below are five N95 and KN95 masks that have been approved by either NIOSH or the FDA.
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Powecom KN95 mask