How to Decide which Face Mask to Use During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Nov 09, 2020

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The best way to protect ourselvesand our loved ones is through socialdistancing, mask wearing and practicing good hand hygiene. Select themask that works best for you and thecircumstances and stay safe!
Types of masks for COVID-19protection:
Homemade Cotton Face Masks This kind of mask offers a very lowlevel of protection, but it helps remind you not to touch your face. Asa reusable option, it is important tokeep it clean and regularly wash yourface mask in a 140194 F hot machine wash with laundry detergent.One more thing to remember: shapematters! Your mask protects you better when it fits your face perfectly.
N95 Respirator Mask N95 respirators are designed to create a tightseal around the nose and mouth.When worn correctly, they can blockover 95% of small airborne particles.Some even have as much as a 99%bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE).Respirators are the best at protecting both the wearer and the peoplearound them. N95s are made oflayers of polypropylene fibers, whichis what makes them so effective.The N95 is regulated by the CDCand NIOSH unless it is marketedfor medical use, at which point theFDA will approve them as well. Inresponse to the Coronavirus pandemic, the FDA changed their guidelineswith an emergency use authorization(EUA) to allow NIOSH approvedrespirators to be used in healthcarecircumstances.
KN95 Mask KN95 particulatemasks are also rated to filter 95%of particles and are regulated by theChinese government. The FDA alsoissued an emergency use authorization (EUA) authorizing the useof KN95s as a valid alternative to
NIOSH approved masks. Anotherdifference between KN95s and N95sis that the KN95s often use ear loopsrather than an over the top of thehead and behind the neck two strapconfiguration like the N95.3-Ply Disposable Masks 3-ply disposable masks are fluid resistant andprovide the wearer protection againstlarge droplets, splashes, or sprays ofbodily or other hazardous fluids. Theyalso protect others from the wearers respiratory emissions. They aremore loose fitting than either N95 orKN95s, so provide a less reliable level of protection from inhaling smallerairborne particles. When marketedfor use in healthcare scenarios, as asurgical or medical 3-ply mask, theyare regulated by the FDA and therefore provide better protection than ahomemade mask.
Editors Note: This article was submitted byChris Myers, Partner at Community Attire, anorganization dedicated to providing protective supplies to help keep people safe andbusinesses running. Chris can be reached or 213-761-4229.More safety articles are available at

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