Now that the CDC is recommending the usage of protective masks, a surge of Americans are prioritizing them in order to do what they can to prevent catching the coronavirus. The problem is that most Americans have never had to use a mask before, and so they’re struggling to find one that’s actually protective enough to prevent the virus, while not having a good idea of which ones are legitimate and which are not. Complicating the issue is the fact that a lot of companies are now selling protective masks in order to profit off of this pandemic, despite not going through the proper steps in order to ensure that the masks actually work.
How to Go About Buying the Correct, Protective Mask
The good news is that if you’re in the market for a mask, which you should be, there are some very easy ways to know which ones are actually effective, and which aren’t. A proper protective mask must go through various certification processes in order to be deemed legitimate, and we’re here to help you figure out how to shop for the best one possible in order to keep yourself safe as this virus continues to spread through communities.
#1: The Type of Protective Mask
The first thing that you need to be looking for is the right kind of mask. We’re seeing many companies selling disposable masks that are made from cheap materials. These masks are not fitted, and the materials may be too porous to prevent the small droplets that we’re trying to avoid. Further, disposable masks have not been proven to be effective against airborne diseases.
The gold standard is the N95 mask, but these are largely reserved for medical staff, as they should be. The KN95 is therefore the mask you’re most likely to find, and is the mots effective after the N95. So, while searching for a mask, KN95 is your best bet.
#2: CE Certification
CE certification means that the mask is compliant with government standards of health, safety and manufacturing. This is absolutely crucial, because if a mask has not been evaluated under these standards, it may not be useful at all. A CE certification should be available on a manufacturer’s website, and you should be able to cross reference the number in order to verify its legitimacy. In fact, we do recommend cross-referencing in this case, due to the seriousness of the situation.
#3: Registry with the FDA
Another thing that you need to look for is proof that the manufacturing facility itself was registered with the FDA. If not, the mask is absolutely not worth your money, and is likely coming from a cheap company that came about at the start of the pandemic in order to profit off of it. Legitimate mask companies all register their facilities with the FDA, as this ensures a high standard of safety and health precautions that can determine whether or not the mask indeed keeps you safe.
The good news is that it’s easy to find out this information. A manufacturer should be able to provide the FDA certification number, which you can then cross reference by simply looking it up on the FDA operator database. The number should match exactly. If it doesn’t match, then you should avoid this manufacturer as this indicates that they do not take health and safety standards seriously, and that therefore the mask may keep you at high risk.
#4: Whether or Not the Package is Properly Sealed
A mask needs to be properly sealed, period. Right now, we know that this virus can linger on surfaces, and no one is immune to it, including the workers at mask factories. And, you don’t know how many people are handling your mask before it makes its way over to you. This means that it’s possible that an infected person may have touched your mask sometime during the manufacturing and shipping process, putting you further at risk than if you weren’t wearing a mask at all.
Now, you can see why a mask being sealed is so important. A sealed mask indicates that the mask itself has not been handled by a number of people who may or may not be infected. Besides that, a mask that’s thoroughly sealed indicates that it was produced with the right standards and regulations as put forth by major health organizations. In other words, an unsealed mask is a sign of a shady company that’s cutting corners.
#5: A Legitimate Source
Yes, you should consider who you’re buying your mask from. In the midst of panic, many of us make poor, impulsive decisions in an effort to keep ourselves safe. Therefore, we may not take the time to stop and think about choosing the best mask for our needs. Many people are rushing out to buy the first mask that they see, but this isn’t necessarily a wise idea. You should take the time to make sure that you can trace the mask back to the manufacturer, which means that you should avoid masks being sold by vendors who have no real connection to the medical industry.
Use this guide to Determine Whether or Not a Protective Mask is Actually Effective and Legitimate
The CDC is now recommending that we all wear protective masks whenever we leave our homes, which is why it’s so crucial that Americans know how to shop for the proper protective masks that can actually keep them protected. Doing so will increase your chances of avoiding infection.