Comparing N95, KN95 and FFP2 Respirator MasksBielcor
What are the best face masks for protection? How do N95 masks compare? Where do you get the safest masks, and how do you wear them correctly?
Face Mask Guidance In 2021
While there has been some face mask guidance confusion on the news and social media over the past few months, they are still one of the most essential items workers and all individuals want to have with them everywhere today.
If you work in close proximity to anyone, you need a mask. Even if you work from home, then you need a good stash of face masks for going to most indoor and outdoor settings near other people, and even when delivery people come to your door.
Even where it is not mandated by law or specific businesses and buildings it can be wise to have a mask, and a backup mask with you. Even after being vaccinated. There are still many variants of COVID out there, and even vaccinated individuals have been testing positive for the virus again.
Even if you have been vaccinated, or do not even believe in the COVID-19 virus, then it is just plain smart to be sure you have a reserve of N95 masks at hand. They may prove necessary for commercial travel for quite some time. They may protect those you love, even if you believe that you are immune.
Plus, we know it is highly likely that some other event will happen in the future that will again cause mandated mask wearing. That could be a new coronavirus variant in a year from now, a completely new biological threat, or even a localized wildfire, terror attack or something else.
When this inevitably happens, you can bet that N95 masks will be in short supply. Early news may downplay the event to ensure those with privileged information can stock up on masks first, and healthcare workers and frontline responders can stockpile sufficient mask supplies for months or years.
Be prepared now, so that you are ahead of the game, and don’t have to deal with price gouging or the worst restrictions either.
What Are the Best Face Masks?
While the government always wants to ensure healthcare workers get the first shot at the best masks, they also recommend the same N95 dust mask for all when available. They offer the best quality protection and wearability.
CDC guidance for face masks still recommends these NIOSH approved N95 masks when supplies are available.
These masks fit right for real protection against bioaerosol viruses, and are made to filter out tiny airborne particles, while still offering comfortable breathability.
For those wanting even more supreme protection there are also National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified N99 masks, which block out 99% of micro fine particulates, and still give you full deep breaths of clean air.
N95, KN95 and FFP2 are types of mask classes. These codes refer to the safety performance standards they have been tested to.
These standards and tests may have some similarities. The main difference being that different countries and continents have their own mask performance tests.
Here is a quick guide:
● United States: N95
● Europe: FFP2
● China: KN95
● Brazil: PFF2
● Japan: DS2
● Australia: P2
● Korea: Korea 1st class
Certification standards for the US N95 mask and qualifying filter performance are at the most stringent level.
N95 Mask Meaning
This is considered the gold standard for medical and construction environments.
A N95 level mask must be proven to be able to filter out 95% or more of non-oil airborne particles. They will typically have headbands/ straps instead of ear loops. This makes them more effective at not only directly filtering out particles through the mask but preventing leakage around the mask.
Best Practices for Properly Wearing a Mask
How you use a mask is just as important as getting a quality mask.
According to the Centers for Disease Control proper mask handling and wearing practices include the following.
● Pick a mask with a nose wire to keep it in place
● Be sure your mask fits snugly
● Children under two years old should not wear masks
● Consider wearing a secondary layer of protection, such as a cloth mask on top of your N95 mask, or N99 dust mask , but NEVER for a KN95 mask
● Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before touching your mask
● Put on and remove your mask by the bands, do not touch the filtering part of the mask
● Replace masks if they get dirty or wet
Are N95 And KN95 Masks Reusable?
N95 and KN95 masks are not designed to be reusable or washable. Like any sanitary healthcare setting, these are disposable face masks which should be replaced and changed regularly.
Finding N95 Masks for Sale
Now that government agencies and medical facilities have secured or ordered their supplies, and have contracts for the PPE they need, N95 masks are available to other businesses, workers and all individuals.
Do not fall for price gouging, or fake masks. According to the CDC, “60% of KN95 masks in the United States are counterfeit.” Many popular brand names have been copied as counterfeits.
Instead of trying to navigate and evaluate masks on Amazon or third-party sites, it is wisest to be sure that you are always purchasing your N95 masks directly from the manufacturer. Authentic and certified masks will both have an approval number in this format, 84A-7719, and will be listed as approved on the CDC website.
Be sure to keep your receipts as the IRS has now made PPE purchases including masks a qualified medical expenses for tax deductions.
N95 masks are those which have been certified to meet United States standards for healthcare and workplace safety, as well as emergencies like viral pandemics, wildfires and volcanoes. This is the global gold standard, often exceeding similar international standards for masks in other countries.
Secure your N95 masks now, for this pandemic, and the next emergency. Just be sure you are buying authentic masks directly from approved manufacturers.