District News

How to Find the Most Protective Mask

Jan 19, 2022
N95 Mask

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks have become a staple household item. However, some masks are going to provide more protection against COVID-19 than others.

Last week, the CDC clarified that well-fitting disposable surgical masks, N95s, KN95s and KF94s respirators provide more protection than cloth masks, with N95s offering the highest level. When purchasing these respirator masks, it is very important to ensure that you are not buying counterfeits. It is best to buy masks that are made by reputable manufacturers and sold by trusted retailers. When inspecting masks, legitimate respirators should state where the masks were manufactured (with a legitimate website or physical address), an expiration date, and branding.

N95 Masks should be stamped with “NIOSH” as well as the company name, model and lot numbers, and a “TC approval” number. KN95 masks should also be stamped with the name of the manufacturer, the model and “GB2626-2019.” KF94 won’t be stamped with text, but the package should say “Made in Korea” and include the product name, manufacturer and distributer name.

Click here to read a New York Times article on how to find a quality COVID-19 mask and here to read Wirecutter’s guide on where to buy N95s, KN95s and surgical-style masks. Additionally, the Biden Administration announced that they will make 400 million N95 masks available for free at community health centers and retail pharmacies by Sunday, January 30. Learn more here.  

Photo credit: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press