When the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and associated authorities had to move swiftly and devise a plan of action and prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The public trusted the government to gather information on the virus and inform the people on what to do and how best to stay safe.
One of the measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was maintaining good hand hygiene, practicing social distancing, and wearing a face mask every time people are out in public.
A stroll around town for as little as 5 minutes will tell you just how masks are an integral part of the comprehensive strategy of measures to help stop the further spread of the virus. However, there’s more than just using a mask if you’re looking for an adequate level of protection against COVID-19. You also have to consider what type of mask you’re wearing.
Though they are meant to serve the same purpose, these face coverings are very different in various ways. Examples of face coverings that people nowadays have to wear include hand-sewn fabric masks, surgical masks, N95 masks, and the highly controversial KN95 masks.
Because KN95 masks are not produced in the United States, their use was initially not advocated for by health authorities and the FDA, but you still can find a FDA approved KN95 mask. However, a shortage in the U.S-produced N95 masks saw the authorities exercise a bit of leniency and allowed people to use KN95 masks made in China.
To this effect, this article seeks to shed some light on what KN95 masks really are as well as where to get them.
What Are KN95 Masks?
KN95 masks cover the nose and mouth of the wearer and are secured by a loop around the ears. They are made from at least five layers of filters made of a synthetic material, usually a polypropylene plastic polymer. They also use a mechanical filter to block harmful particles in the air from accessing your respiratory system.
Being a Chinese product, the KN95 mask is the region’s equivalent of the United States N95 masks. They are both, however, highly similar when it comes to functionality. The ‘95’ in their names are a reference to the masks’ filtration efficiency as they can filter out 95% of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns in size or bigger.
To be approved as a KN95 mask, the government in China requires every manufacturer to conduct a mask fit test on humans. The results must have ≤ 8% leakage for the masks to meet the set standards and be approved for sale. They must also have a nose clip that forms a tight seal around your nose.
As a precaution, it’s important to note that KN95 masks should not be reused; after using one, you should place it carefully in a sealed plastic bag, then throw it into the trash.
What Makes KN95 Masks So Effective?
KN95 masks filter out 95% of particles that are down to 0.3 microns in size. This is the highest filtration efficiency that you can get in the market today. There are no masks that can filter 100% of microns and many people, including healthcare providers, use KN95 masks because they offer much better service as compared to surgical or cloth masks.
While cloth masks and three-ply disposable masks can provide the wearer with a decent amount of protection, KN95 masks simply do a much better job as far as safety goes.
Apart from their structural efficiency, these masks are designed to fit the face of the wearer perfectly. KN95 masks also allow for breathability and comfort around the face. You can wear them for a long time, and this makes them ideal for the workplace, while on transit, or when you’re just having a long day.
Where You Can Get KN95 Masks
If you want to buy KN95 masks for you and your family, it is vital that you buy from a reputable seller to ensure that you get the best quality. Avoid buying from producers who sell below market value. Cheap products can easily be counterfeit.
Seeing that they are not locally made, you may not easily find the KN95 masks in your local drug store or store. However, you can get a five-pack, ten-pack, 15-pack, and 20-pack KN95 mask package from different stores online.
Good eCommerce stores such as Amazon only allow PPEs of the best quality from reputable sellers because they have a responsibility to deliver only the best to their customers especially at this very sensitive time.
When shopping for the mask, ensure you buy masks that are approved by the right agency. Though it is impossible to find a KN95 that is approved by NIOSH, you should check to confirm if the mask you are buying appears on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization list. These masks sell out quite quickly because they are of really high quality.
Other Uses for KN95 Masks
Though the production of these masks has really caught on because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they can offer a lot more than stopping the spread of the deadly virus.
These masks can be used among several other applications to protect the wearer from being exposed to chemicals, dust, and potentially harmful respiratory particles.
Examples of such industries that can benefit from KN95 mask use include:
- Iron and steel foundries
- Pottery and ceramics production
The Bottom Line
Staying coronavirus-free is very vital during the current pandemic is vital for you and those you hold dear. You should adhere to all safety measures in place, and this includes wearing a mask.
If you have a high-quality KN95 mask, you can be sure to get at least 95% protection. However, wearing a mask with a good respirator does not make you invisible. Stay away from high-risk areas as much as possible if you can and remember to wear your mask at all times when in public.