You’ve seen a dizzying array in size, shape, and color if you’ve ever bought a mask online or in a store. Many people have upgraded to a higher-quality mask because of the fast spread of the infectious Omicron variant. However, it’s not always easy to do. A forensic investigator’s sleuthing skills are necessary when picking a mask and making sure it isn’t a counterfeit. Then there’s still the risk of ordering a mask that’s too large, too small for your face, or that doesn’t fit right.
It has not been easy, that’s for sure,” said Bill Taubner, vice president of Bona Fide Masks, which is the exclusive distributor in the United States for both the Powecom and Harley KN95 masks. Research is something a lot of people do.
Unlike cloth masks, masks made of high-tech filter material trap between 94 and 95 percent of the most hazardous particles n95 mask made in usa High-quality masks, such as the N95, KN95, and KF94, are made with layers of high-tech filters. The filters resemble dense tangles of fibers that catch even particles that would otherwise bounce around and escape cloth masks when viewed under a microscope. A high-grade mask also has an electrostatic filter that attracts and traps particles.
Choose Your Mask Style for a Virus
There are different sizes and shapes of masks. There are cup-style masks, duckbill masks, and flat-fold masks. A mask that fits snugly against your face and is comfortable is the best. To find the best style for your face, order small quantities and try different styles. Most masks are described as “one size fits all.” But some come in small and large sizes. Suppose you wear a respirator and it does not form a seal on your face. In that case, you’re not getting the full benefit from it, said Nicole Vars McCullough, vice president for personal safety at the 3M Company, the largest manufacturer of N95 masks in the United States.
- N95 Respirator
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) regulates the N95 respirator mask, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A head strap is a pair of elastic bands wrapped behind the head on nearly all N95 masks. Masks claiming to be N95s that have ear loops are most likely fakes. A guide to detecting fake N95s is available from the C.D.C.
But the head straps have been known to pose problems, especially for those with a medical condition that could compromise their ability to breathe or overweight or obese. A few years ago, a NIOSH survey found that about one in five N95 masks had “head straps that were too tight,” said Dr. John Auerbach, an occupational health physician at the University of California, San Francisco, who was involved in the survey. He said that “if the head strap was too tight, it could restrict blood flow to the brain and cause dizziness, headaches or confusion.” N95 respirators are designed to filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles smaller than 0.3 microns. The respirator is intended to be worn for at least 15 minutes.
- KN95 Respirator
The KN95 is similar to the N95 but has ear loops and is made to meet Chinese medical mask standards. Many people prefer these masks because they are smaller and more comfortable. There are legitimate KN95 masks available, but the supply chain is full of counterfeits, and the product is not regulated. According to a study, there is a 60 percent counterfeit supply of KN95s in the United States. Below are tips for spotting them.
A Korean-made, high-quality mask, the KF94 folds flat for easy storage. The mask is designed specifically for consumers. K.F. denotes the korean filter, and 94 refers to the fact it removes 94 percent of particles. Korea heavily regulates the mask industry, thereby reducing the likelihood of counterfeits. Nevertheless, some fake masks made in China may be labeled KF94, so shoppers need to do their research.