As the COVID-19 pandemic shows no apparent signs of stopping at the moment, many of us are looking for effective ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Alongside a robust hygiene routine and consistent social distancing, face masks can provide the much-needed peace of mind that interacting with the outside world will not significantly increase your risk of infection.
There is a very wide variety of masks available in shops and online, and it can often be challenging to discern which types of masks are best to use. Generally, if you are looking for lasting and effective protection against infection, the KN95 mask is a good suggestion.
But why should you buy KN95 masks? Compared to standard surgical masks, they offer a closer form fit use and provide more opportunity for re-use. Lasting a fair bit longer, KN95s are made of the same materials as N95s, primarily used by medical professionals in clinical settings.
What Are KN95 Masks?
The KN95 masks are protective respirator face masks currently being employed for disease prevention during the COVID-19 virus outbreak. You may be familiar with the N95 mask as a facemask used in clinical settings to prevent infection.
The N95 and the KN95 masks are very similar, with the primary difference being where the mask was certified. KN95 are made and certified in China, whereas N95 are often made in China but approved in the U.S.
Nonetheless, approved KN95 masks still meet the filtration requirements attached to N95 masks, in that they can filter out 95% of 0.3 microns (micrometer) airborne particles as well as a significant percentage of smaller and larger particles.
The fact that KN95 is certified in China does not mean that they are not fit for other countries worldwide. The FDA provides an official list of approved suppliers for KN95 masks, including Chengde Technology Co., BG PRECISION CO. LTD, Dongguan Arun Industrial Co., LTD, and Guangzhou Powecom Labor Insurance Supplies Co., LTD.
Masks from these suppliers will often have the name of the supplier, a registration number, and the mask’s designation (KN95) printed on each mask. The masks are also recognizable by the clear tread on the edges and the metal nose strip at the top of the mask intended to mold around the shape of your nose.
You can buy KN95 masks on CanGardCare, which have been certified by the FDA.
What Is the CE Stamp?
If the KN95 mask is sourced from Europe, it should show the CE (Conformité Européenne) stamp. This mark proves that they are in conformance with European Regulations.
How To Properly Wear A KN95
The mask will arrive sealed and folded. First, thoroughly wash your hands, then remove the packaging but try not to touch the mask itself. If you need to touch the mask to apply it to your face appropriately, only feel the outer edges and the elastic.
Apply the mask to the lower section of your face by hooking the elastic over your ears. Ensure that it adequately covers your mouth and nose and that the metallic strip is at the top, covering the bridge of your nose. Apply pressure to the metal strip to follow your features’ curvature and is flush with your skin. There is also a tread around the mask’s rim; when pressed, these hold to your face to ensure the mask is more secure.
The mask should sit nicely and be comfortable with no air leakage. If you wear glasses, then ensure that they are not underneath the mask in any way or stopping the mask from fitting to your face appropriately.
After the mask is applied, rewash your hands.
The mask’s peak protective capabilities are attained when used in conjunction with regular hand washing and distancing methods. Avoid touching the mask and if you feel it has become contaminated, remove it from behind using the elastic bands and discard as soon as possible.
How Do I Verify That I Have Put the Mask on Correctly?
Once you have put on the mask for the first time, there are a few tests you can carry out at home to verify that it fits correctly and it doesn’t allow unfiltered air to pass through.
Please note that these tests are very rudimentary; however, it is always best to get your mask fit tested if possible.
Lighter – Take a lighter, activate it approximately 6 inches away from your face, and then try to blow out the flame. If you are successful in your attempt, your mask is not effective. If your mask is secure and useful, you will not be able to blow the flame out no matter how hard you try.
Water – Another test you can test how watertight your mask is, is to take the mask facing down and pour water into it like a cup. If any water leaks out, then the fibers are not tightly woven enough. If it does keep water, then it should be effective at catching a sneeze.
Perfume – The final test is to apply the mask and spray perfume or cologne under your neck. If, after this, you can smell the scent, your mask is not properly protecting you.
Fit Testing and Wearing the Mask In A Clinical Setting
Suppose you are wearing the mask at work and especially in a clinical setting. In that case, it is crucial and legally mandated that you ensure your mask is fit-tested under the Canadian Standards Association.
A fit test ensures that a mask forms a tight seal against the face of the wearer.
If your mask does not pass the fit-test, then it is not suitable for use and will become a liability to your health.
On the CanGardCare website, we offer a selection of Fit Test Special masks that can be used explicitly for Fit Tests. Please note that these masks are not to be used for any other purposes.
Please note that we do not conduct the Fit Test onsite or at our facility. You can instead schedule a test through our third-party partner “Keen and Associates”; you will be able to find the contact info at the bottom of the Fit Test mask page.