Medical professionals suggest switching out your cloth face mask in favor of a more protective option with the rise of COVID-19 omicron. The KN95 and N95 masks on the market right now have a wide variety of options. However, it can be challenging to choose one that is both safe and comfortable. Here are six masks that you can order right now on Amazon, and from other retailers like Maskc and Vida.
“You should be wearing a KN95 or N95 mask,” says CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University. Their tight woven material is better at blocking respiratory droplets. In its last mask guideline update from October 2021, however, the CDC did not recommend surgical N95 respirators for healthcare workers. The N95 supply issue has been a non-issue for many months now, Wen told CNN.
An N95 mask should be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) before you purchase it. You can do this by consulting the CDC’s list of NIOSH-approved N95 Particulate Facepiece Respirators, which sorts masks by manufacturer. Additionally, you should read the CDC’s guide to avoiding counterfeit masks, which is especially useful when shopping online.
At least 95 percent of airborne particles are filtered out by masks that are NIOSH-certified. Nonwoven and melt-blown polypropylene provide a bacterial barrier while remaining breathable and comfortable to wear. As with many other types of masks, N95 masks typically have straps that wrap around your head instead of loops around your ears.
KN95 masks, however, are certified in China, so before you purchase one, you should check out the CDC’s list of counterfeit masks and manufacturers, rather than looking for NIOSH-approved options. It is known that Vida and Maskc’s KN95 masks are extremely comfortable and protective. Vida has KN95s for kids and adults in stock, while Maskc only has 100 packs left, however a restock is expected soon. Similarly, Evolvetogether, another shopper- and celeb-loved brand, will restock its KN95 masks later this month. Sign up on the brand’s website to be notified when they’re back in stock.
Honeywell Surgical N95 Respirator, Safety NIOSH-Approved, 20-pack (DC365N95HC)
FANGTIAN N95 Mask NIOSH Certified Particulate Respirators Protective Face Mask (Pack of 10, Model FT-N040 / Approval Number TC-84A-7861)