Although Covid vaccinations are being offered in the United States (and all over the globe), officials warn that you should not remove your masks if you’re going to be traveling or living in crowds. Medical experts recommend that you cover your face to stop the spread of Covid-19 or other potentially dangerous viruses in the air, even if you have already received your vaccine.
The FAA still requires that airlines use masks while traveling. They have issued guidelines that require the wearing of facial masks on flights, except for brief periods of eating or drinking. There are many good options for face masks, but the best is still the N95 protective mask.
These masks are sometimes called N95 respirators. They are not to be confused or misunderstood with KN95 masks. However, they are held to completely different standards. The best N95 masks were once only available for medical, construction, and lab jobs. However, many companies are now making them available online.
How does the N95 mask differ from a KN95? Is an N95 mask effective against Covid or not? We review the top N95 and N95 masks that we have tested and offer our opinion on their effectiveness.
Comparison of N95 and KN95 masks: Similarities & Differences
N95 and KN95 masks, which are both made of multiple layers of synthetic material (typically a plastic polymer polypropylene), are intended to be worn over the nose and mouth. The mask is held in place by the straps that are placed behind your ears. The masks must capture and filter 95 percent of the tiny particles (0.3 microns) in the air. This is why the “95” suffix is in the names.
Protective masks N95 offer protection against particles as small and as small as 0.3 microns. While the coronavirus is only 0.1 microns, it attaches to larger objects such as droplets from breathing or talking. These masks have a strong material composition that prevents airborne particles from getting into your nose and mouth.
How are N95 masks different than KN95 masks, you ask? The most important difference is in the certification of masks. The N95 masks are the U.S. standard and the KN95 the China standard. This is why N95 masks cannot be used in America for healthcare purposes, even though KN95 masks offer many of the same protective qualities.
N95 masks have to pass a stringent inspection and certification process by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the CDC. KN95 mask manufacturers can apply for approval by the FDA through an emergency authorization to obtain a foreign certification that meets the 95% filtration requirement. KN95 mask manufacturers must provide documentation proving that masks and materials are genuine, according to the FDA.
Not for children and people with large amounts of facial hair. An N95 mask has the advantage of sealing the face tightly. However, the FDA states that a mask with a beard or a child’s face will not provide the same protection.
Medical experts warn that these masks aren’t a magic bullet. While they offer enhanced protection, they aren’t substitutes for social distancing and hand hygiene. They also limit person-to-person interaction whenever possible.