COVID-19, per the CDC, spreads mainly through respiratory drops from person to person that can be passed along when a person sneezes, coughs, or speaks. As we continue to wait for a vaccine, medical professionals suggest that people wear face coverings when in public environments, and many cases mandate that they wear them. There are, however, several different choices when it comes to personal protective equipment ( PPE). The N95 or KN95 masks are top-of-the-line and high-in-demand masks. What difference does it make? While the defensive qualities of both masks are identical, these highly sought-after masks have subtle variations that distinguish them.
Why should you wear a Face Mask?
COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory infection that can occur in patients that are both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The disease will quickly move to someone who has COVID-19. The CDC states that tiny respiratory droplets that are expelled when we breathe, cough, speak, or sneeze are responsible for the disease to spread. We mitigate the risk of contamination through our nose and mouth by wearing a face mask.
In venturing out into the public, both for the safety of others and yourself, facial security during COVID-19 is crucial. The face masks KN95 and N95 provide a higher security level than other face masks on the market. Instead of N95 or KN95 face masks, the CDC does recommend cloth face coverings, however. Although these covers will not filter out particles and may not protect you from being sick, it helps to prevent the germs from spreading to others.
Controversy Regarding KN95
Signs that common KN95 masks are not as efficient as N95 masks have been found in a new study.
ECRI researchers find that, as with N95 masks, up to 70 percent of KN95 masks imported from China do not follow U.S. efficacy requirements. In September, the group released a Danger Warning
It is said that both products filter 95 percent of aerosol particulates. Since they follow the Chinese norm but are not governed by U.S. agencies, KN95 respirators vary from N95 respirators.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health regulates masks in the United States.
Healthcare professionals at highest risk
More significantly, however, ECRI is worried about the use of KN95s by doctors and nurses that do not filter 95% of particles.
60 to 70 percent of manufactured KN95 masks do not filter 95 percent of aerosol particles, a team at the non-profit patient protection organization noted. About 200 masks were tested by ECRI from 15 different suppliers.
Since some of the models tested were being purchased by health systems, ECRI decided to raise an alarm and send a warning to the public.
Before buying masks, Schabacker hopes healthcare professionals will be more critical of masks.
Owing to widespread shortages, healthcare systems are still importing PPE. Hospitals experience major difficulties with ordering masks manufactured in the United States. Some claim that as it tries to replenish its PPE stockpile, they are competing with the U.S. government, ECRI said in a statement.
A spokesman for NIOSH's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory told Healthline that items that are not NIOSH-approved should be used in crisis; another NIOSH-approved respirator from one of the other recognized countries is not available.
The KN95 masks will be used only as a last resort in this situation, although potentially a step above a surgical mask.
In these cases, KN95s that meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria can be used to safeguard staff during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.
KN95s May be Effective
However, just because the KN95s do not comply with NIOSH requirements doesn't mean they're useless.
Schabacker said that KN95s should be used for activities that require minimal contact with body fluids instead of surgical or procedure masks, as KN95s are not designed for fluid repellency.
But only when treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can they be used as a last resort.
The ECRI statement said several non-certified masks have head and neck straps that can ensure that air is filtered. These vary from those with loops in the ear.
What to See in KN95 masks
Schabacker said that his team was shocked to learn that one brand did not fail over another. Instead, it performed for some masks manufactured by one brand and some didn't.
There are around 3,500 factories producing KN95s in China, Schabacker reports.
He stressed that a representative sampling of masks produced by all manufacturers was not performed by ECRI.
He said he is not sure, even though he hopes that some KN95s still live up to the mark. Meanwhile, for qualification, individuals should review current KN95s.
Tips to Get the Right One
#1 - Some patches may be placed between the pressed skin area and the mask to reduce damage and protect the skin, especially the upper side of the mask, according to the practical experience of COVID-19 in the Chinese climate. The coverage of the patches must be greater than the compression scope, and the material may be either silicone patches, hydrogel patches, woundplast, or paper towels.
#2 - Adding a gasket layer to the inside of the mask. The gasket, which only covers the mouth and is smaller than the mask, should be slightly thick and rectangular in the gasket should be mounted with double-sided foam tape to prevent movement that causes damage to the sealed mask. Once the gasket is hygroscopic, air permeable, and friendly to skin, many can be the material of the same including nonwoven fabrics, paper towels, gauzes, and many more.
#3 - It is, therefore, possible to reduce ear skin pressure by using any available string or hairpins to lengthen the ear-hook string.