Mask-wearing is the most accessible means of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It is highly recommended by the CDC as one of the most effective ways of curbing the virus. This is true, because wearing a mask has somewhat slowed thee pandemic to a crawl. Yet, there are various forms of face masks, each with their own unique qualities.
As aforementioned, face masks can be categorised into three: cloth or paper masks, surgical/ medical masks and professional respirators. In this piece, we shall focus on respirators, especially the KN95 respirators, especially as to how it compares to its twin; N95 respirators.
What are N95 and KN95 Respirators?
Respirators or respirator masks are medical devices that help protect against tiny respiratory droplets in the air, especially droplets containing SARS-CoV-2; the coronavirus strain. Health workers are more liable to use respirator masks during treatment of coronavirus patients. This makes respirator masks a reserved item for health care providers and first responders. As such, the CDC does not recommend public use of respirators; most certainly not outside healthcare settings.
What does the CDC Say about Respirator Use?
The CDC lays certain reasons for its non-approval of public use of respirator masks as follows:
Limited supply of KN95 respirators worldwide; public sale will make life more difficult for healthcare workers and first responders who need them.
Respirator masks, such as N95, must be fit-tested to be effectively used. A bad fix can reduce a respirator’s effectiveness.
Its tight fit makes them unsuitable and uncomfortable for use, for long periods of time.
That being said, if you already possess an N-95 mask, you can wear it. They may be slightly uncomfortable but they really do prevent the spread of coronavirus; in fact more so than face masks or shields.
Comparison between N95 and KN95 Respirators
With similar looking/ sounding names, the N95 and KN95 respirator masks can be confused for each other. The N95 respirator mask is US approved while the KN95 is China approved.
As far as medical practitioners are concerned, however, the N95 and KN95 respirators are the same, i.e. built up in the same form; carrying out the same function in the same manner. Other masks standards such as Europe’s FFP2, Australia’s P2, Korea’s KMOEL and Japan’s DS are also the same as the KN95. They all capture the same percentage of tiny toxic particles in the air: a whopping 95% of 0.3 micron particles! That’s a significant figure in regards to the COVID-19 situation. Both the KN95 and the N95 requires a fit-test before use.
Regardless of the CDC’s non-recommendation, the KN95 is still a super-effective way to keep the coronavirus at bay; especially for those more prone to the virus.