KN95 Mask vs. N95 Mask: What Is The Difference?
Right now, there really is one thing on everyone’s mind across the globe, and it’s how to best protect ourselves against the coronavirus. The CDC and WHO have regularly updated their guidelines and suggestions in terms of how we can keep ourselves safe, but no one will deny that at times, things have been confusing. This virus is completely new, which means that we still know little about how it behaves and transmits from person to person. Therefore, the CDC’s guidelines are prone to changing often, and sometimes drastically.
Up until very recently, we were told in America that the use of masks was pretty much unnecessary, because they couldn’t do much to prevent catching the virus, and that washing our hands and practicing social distance was enough. But, now that we have a pretty good idea that the virus is, in fact, airborne, the CDC is finally suggesting that we wear masks whenever we leave our homes. Little by little, state governments are beginning to urge their residents to wear masks as well.
This means that the general public suddenly has a new dilemma: figuring out which mask will best help them prevent catching the virus. The CDC has been very vague about the term “mask,” which is unfortunate because the truth is that to say that not all masks are created equally, or are therefore equally capable of protecting you, is a massive understatement.
Types of Protective Masks
The good news is that we at Health Smart Labs have provided you some information needed regarding which protective mask to choose, if you’re trying to best protect yourself from COVID-19. We will be ranking your options from worst to best.
This has been the choice among the large majority of Americans since the virus first began to spread in early March. Now, we know that infection rates increased dramatically over the course of the month, and we can’t say for certain how much of that increase was directly caused by the failure to use proper masks. What we can tell you is that there’s a good chance the infection would not have spread so widely if everyone wore one. So, we can conclude that not wearing a mask leaves you extremely vulnerable to catching the virus, especially since recent reports came out demonstrating that the virus is, in fact, airborne.
A homemade mask is an option that many are employing around the globe. One reason why this is such a popular option is because most Americans simply don’t know much about masks and wouldn’t know how to obtain a far more effective one if they did. Further complicating things is the fact that there’s a shortage of masks, as many were hoarded when the virus first exploded on the scene. Homemade masks can vary in terms of effectiveness, of course, because each material has its own capability level in terms of truly being protective. But a homemade mask is better than no mask.
The mask that we’re seeing the most of around the world is the disposable mask. This is the blue mask that looks like a surgical mask. In some countries, especially in parts of Asia, it’s actually popular to wear these masks throughout the cold season as a general precaution. Now, their usage is spreading around the globe as a direct result of the new coronavirus.
Disposable masks are a bit deceptive. They may give someone a false sense of security, because they are likely not as effective as people may think. For one thing, they’re not properly fitted, and so there are small gaps in which the virus can enter. Another thing is that the material is likely not nearly as protective as many think. This means that people may assume that the mask is more effective than it is, causing them to be less cautious in other ways, such as washing their hands and distancing from others. Still, a disposable mask is better than a homemade one, or no mask at all.
The FDA recently approved the use of China-made KN95 masks, and so we’re just starting to hear a lot about them throughout the country. KN95 masks are far better at protecting us against droplets in the air, which is why they’re widely suggested to the general public. They’re also more fitted than disposable ones, decreasing the likelihood of gaps into which the virus can enter.
For those who aren’t aware, KN95 certification is the Chinese equivalent of N95 in USA and has comparable performance requirements and standards of conformity.
These are the masks we keep hearing about, largely because of shortages around the world. N95 masks are easily the best option of all in terms of their ability to protect you against the coronavirus. But these masks are in short supply and desperately needed by frontline healthcare workers for protection. So even if you are lucky enough to find one, it’s better to leave the NIOSH approved N95 masks for the medical professionals on the frontlines, since civilians can get similar protection from a KN95 mask without taking them away from healthcare professionals who need them most..
We still know far less about the coronavirus than we’d like to, which means that only time will tell just how instrumental the use of masks is in terms of minimizing the risk of infection. But we do know that without a doubt, KN95 and the N95 masks are capable of drastically reducing your chances of catching it. Therefore, it’s time to take your mask options seriously in order to reduce your chances of ending up with COVID-19.