Difference between KN95, N95 masks and how to avoid mask scams

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As interest in KN95 masks grows, prices for some brands are rising. KING 5 spoke to medical experts and consumers about what the public should keep in mind.

SEATTLE — With high rates of omicron transmission, some doctors are recommending people upgrade to higher quality masks.

It also means navigating how masks are different, which masks to choose, and how to find masks that work effectively but are still affordable.

“We’re trying to get people away from just a cloth mask or these bandanas that we see,” said Dr. Francis Riedo, EvergreenHealth’s medical director for infection control and prevention. “They’re just not hugely effective, both in preventing transmission and in preventing you from getting infected. A multi-layer fabric mask is a bit better, but you really should take it to the next level, whether it’s ‘a surgical or procedural mask, or if you can find it, a KN95, or ideally or optimally a tested N95. This is a procedure mostly limited to healthcare workers, but if you’re in a situation where you can accomplishing that is what you should be doing.”

What is the difference between fabric masks, KN95 and N95?

Riedo described the differences between mask types that impact how they work and what they’re able to filter out.

“Masking really refers to the number of particles being filtered out,” Riedo said. “You start with the lowest end, which is the single layer of fabric, which will filter out some particles, whether it’s smoke or viruses, but it’s really very limited. If you go into multiple layers of a cloth mask you have a bit more filtration but it’s only when you really get to the surgical level masks that you get some benefit from it It’s both mechanical filtration and an electrostatic component that aid.

“And as you move up the chain, things become more and more efficient at filtering due to closer and smaller openings for the passage of particles, charges, etc. You enter the KN95s , which is a type of N95 approved in China by their standards, to N95s, which are approved by US standards, which are kind of the high end, and then you get into full face masks.”

RELATED: Yes, You Can Clean and Reuse Your KN95 or N95 Mask Using a Brown Paper Bag

How do I know if my KN95 or N95 mask is legit?

As more and more people look to buy KN95 and N95 masks, it is important to take the time to ensure that you are buying from a reputable seller.

“There are many funny websites with fake contact information, misrepresentation, and quite often consumers will make purchases from these websites and sometimes receive a counterfeit product that looks nothing like what they purchased. “, Better Business said Logan Hickle, director of public relations and communications for the Washington State Office. “They might be buying a KN95 mask from this website, but instead they’re getting something completely standard in terms of the face mask that you see every day, and then also lots of reports of consumers buying items on these fun websites and never receiving a product at all, and not being able to reach out or get in touch with this company again.”

Hickle recommends making sure a manufacturer has verifiable contact information and calling the number or sending a message to the email address listed.

If the customer orders an item and doesn’t receive it, Hickle says to contact the financial institution they purchased the items from and report them in case they experience a data breach.

“At BBB, we always encourage consumers to buy with a credit card rather than other payment methods,” Hickle said. “When you buy with a credit card, the consumer has a much better chance of getting their money back when scammed.

“If you come across any scams, especially relating to the coronavirus, we encourage you to report it to the BBB scam tracker. That way we can take a look at this information and it is also publicly available. report to the Solicitor General’s Office as well, then if you notice a price hike in the market, you can go to BBB.org/adtruth and report price increases there, so we can investigate it.”

For KN95 masks in particular, Hickle says to review Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to check before buying.

RELATED: Upgrading your mask? Here’s how to make sure you’re spending your money on a genuine respirator

In addition to masking, Riedo said it’s important to pursue the full range of prevention techniques to maximize protection.

“We know masks work,” Riedo said. “Better masks work better. They are more effective at preventing transmission and preventing you from becoming infected. But masking is only part of a multi-level process to try to prevent transmission and prevent infection. infection. And that starts with getting vaccinated, but it also involves being in well-ventilated areas. So if you’re planning on having a small gathering, have it in the best-ventilated area possible, whether that’s a patio , if it’s cold outside, maybe a room larger than you can open a window and circulate that air.

“The virus doesn’t live very long outside of a humid environment, and I think it’s incumbent on us to make sure people understand: vaccines work, masks work, ventilation works, physical distancing works, and if you use all these layers, you will reduce your risk of transmission, of being infected.”

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