On a daily average, there are about a thousand pieces of the N95 mask utilized; that is before the pandemic had started. Now that there is a pandemic, the utility percentage of the N95 mask skyrocketed. Hospitals from across the globe use up to a million pieces of the N95 mask on a daily basis. This makes the N95 the medical experts’ trusted mask to be worn amidst the pandemic. With a filtration ability of 95%, the N95 mask is able to filter droplets of spit, blood, mucus, and other aerosols like smoke, dirt, dust, and even smog. This type of protective mask is famous not only in the field of medicine but also in the fields of engineering and construction.
The production of the N95 mask had fallen short in these past few months due to overwhelming demand. Hospitals were not getting enough supply of the N95 mask. Some were forced to reuse their clean N95 mask. But clean dl 3M, the world’s leading company for making the FDA approved N95 mask, had been increasing their manufacturing percentage. If there is a need for the company to double or even triple the production for the N95 mask, it should be done to meet the global demands.
Along with the constant efforts of meeting the global demands, there were other sellers who were taking advantage of making instant money out of fake versions of the N95 mask. Most of these fake versions of the N95 mask are prevalent on the internet. Several lawsuits have been filed against these counterfeiters but it seemed that they were also helping in meeting the global demands; maybe not rightful enough.
These are the following signs that one should be familiar with:
- In an N95 mask, there are markings and words. These markings on the N95 mask must be spelled correctly. Otherwise, it is fake.
- Along with the markings is the NIOSH approval number. If it’s incomplete, the N95 mask that you have purchased is a counterfeit.
- Despite being lightweight, the N95 mask has a thicker texture and depth. Using your hands, feel the texture of the N95 mask. If it is thinner, the mask is fake.
- With the protection the N95 mask can provide, it is not suitable for children. If your purchased mask claims to be safe for children, it is a fake one.
Aside from these signs, you might want to check on the price. Individually, the price of an N95 mask goes from about $7 to $9. If the N95 mask goes in tens, the price is around $80 to $90 per pack. These prices of the N95 mask are the black market prices. According to 3M, the price usually goes under $1.27. However, consumers have been complaining about the inflated price of the N95 mask provided by 3M. The price now goes around $3 to $4 per piece. It is kind of reasonable given that the pandemic is causing all of this ruckus. Moreover, consumer reviews over amazon and other online selling platforms agreed to more affordable pricing so that everyone can avail of the protection the N95 mask provides.
So the question lies as to which stores to go to in buying the N95 mask? Aside from the main supplier of the N95 mask, there are other shops where you can purchase your N95 mask. And note, these shops sell the legit N95 mask.
A pharmacy is where you can most likely purchase an N95 mask. Aside from selling the right medicine and other goods, a pharmacy is a guaranteed store that there are no fake goods or items sold. Also, they subscribe to the standard retail price prescribed by the manufacturer. In this store, you are assured of an assured quality of the N95 mask without being jinxed by the price.
- Convenience Store
A convenience store is also a viable candidate for you to purchase your N95 mask. Although you need to be careful because some convenience stores offer extra convenience on the pricing of the N95 mask. Another one to check is the legitimacy of the mask itself. But most convenience stores sell legit and FDA approved N95 masks.
- Home Depot
Since the N95 mask is popular amongst the fields of construction and engineering, home depots also sell the mask. The N95 mask can be found in the section of protective equipment, alongside welding face shields, gloves, and others. They also follow the standard pricing.
- Medical Supply
From the name it suggests, the N95 mask can totally be sold here. But the slight disadvantage could be, you have to buy the N95 mask in bulk. They do not sell in retail. Most of the hospitals order their N95 mask here. The pricing of the N95 mask is in line with the suggested retail price.
- Online Platform
Legitimate online platforms like Amazon is where you can purchase the N95 mask. But again, you cannot purchase a retail copy of the N95 mask. It has to be bought in bulk. If you are from outside the US and wish to purchase the N95 mask originally from the US, the shipping fee will make your purchase heavier.
It is always important as consumers to identify the mask that you are purchasing. You must not sacrifice the quality of the mask that you have purchased. Remember, safety must be taken into consideration at all times.