Why do people wear surgical masks over KN95 masks?

With the on-going trials for the COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates will still be effective. After all, the worldwide mask mandate is a result of the recommendation from healthcare experts. Together with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare experts recommended wearing masks to help protect oneself. Over the years, masks have been a protective tool against viruses and bacteria.

The pandemic created a vast opportunity for mask manufacturers and other small businesses to manufacture masks. Now, there is a wide array of masks to choose from. Despite the diversity of masks, not all of them are appropriate to wear in public. The N95 mask and the surgical mask are the most appropriate, as per healthcare experts’ recommendation.

With the scarcity of the N95 mask, the KN95 mask came into the scene. The KN95 mask is an alternative to the N95 mask.

What is a KN95 and how does it protect people?

The KN95 mask is the Chinese counterpart of the American N95 mask. The KN95 mask is a foreign facepiece respirator recommended by the CDC to be used as an alternative. This particular mask has been an effective protective mask.

The way the KN95 mask filters is the same as the N95 mask. It traps particles on the surface preventing it from coming inside the body. Also, it filters air which is a primary carrier of particles that may include the coronavirus.

How different is the KN95 mask from the N95 mask?

There is one particular difference between the KN95 mask and the N95 mask. Aside from the place of origin, the KN95 mask has a softer texture of the fabric. Although both masks can achieve a tight seal, the KN95 mask is more malleable than the N95 mask. The N95 mask has a stiffer mask than the KN95

 What is a surgical mask and how does it protect people?

Surgical masks are a hospital staple. This is the mask that is commonly blue in color. This particular mask is used in hospitals more often. A surgical mask is made from polypropylene. Polypropylene makes the surgical mask waterproof from its first and last layer. The second layer of the surgical mask is made from melt-blown fabric, which is good for filtration. The surgical mask has a good filtration ability and it does not transmit any liquid substance like saliva and phlegm from the inside to the outside. Once properly worn, the surgical mask can protect the wearer by blocking droplets, or liquid aerosols that can potentially carry harmful microorganisms.

Despite being the N95 mask counterpart, more people prefer the surgical mask over the KN95. This is probably because of the origin of the KN95 mask. The mask originates and is manufactured in China. It is common knowledge among people that some Chinese products do not last for long. These Chinese products can either be poorly sourced or made from substandard materials.

The CDC can confirm its work. The KN95 mask is an effective protective mask. But again people prefer the surgical mask. Why?

People prefer the surgical mask over the KN95 due to several reasons:

  1. Since the KN95 mask can achieve a tight seal, breathing can be an issue. The surgical mask is more breathable due to its loose fit. Although the KN95 mask is more malleable than the N95 mask, the fact that it can achieve a tight seal is enough.
  2. More people have been using the surgical mask over the KN95 mask. Despite the recommendation of the CDC, most people prefer the surgical mask because it is now being used in public. There are only a few people using the KN95 mask.

 

The mystery behind the KN95 mask

The KN95 mask is the Chinese N95 mask. However, this is not always the case. A report certified that the KN95 mask is not as effective as the American N95 mask.

A group of researchers has found out that almost 70 percent of the KN95 only met Chinese Standards and not the US standards. The group of researchers has quickly produced a hazard warning for the KN95 mask. The filtration efficiency of the KN95 mask, which is similar to the N95 mask, is only a speculation.

In a study spearheaded by a non-profit patient safety group, they found out that 60 to 70 percent of the Kn95 mask imported from China does not meet the 95% filtration efficiency as expected. Since the N95 mask supply is scarce, healthcare workers and health establishments have procured their stocks of the KN95 mask. ECRI or Emergency Care Research Institute alerted the public and health institutions immediately. 

What will happen to the KN95 mask? Will they be phased-out?

The KN95 mask may not be proven effective but it does not mean the masks have to be phased-out. Michael Argentieri, vice president for technology and safety at ECRI stipulated that KN95 masks are still effective as a protective mask. The masks are even more effective than surgical masks and cloth masks in terms of protection. The KN95 mask can be used in non-healthcare settings. Moreover, the KN95 mask should only be used as an ultimate option.

Despite having the KN95 mask debunked, the mask is still protective. Both the surgical mask and the KN95 mask were created to serve as protection against viruses and bacteria. If people wear these masks properly, there is a greater chance of survival. More people will be away from the virus.

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