Protecting yourself from the spread of COVID-19 is a top priority today, but it can be tough to wade through all the information out there. If you're looking for help choosing the right mask for COVID-19, here are the basics.
Types of Masks
As you might have noticed, there are a few different types of masks on the market. While N95 and KN95 masks offer some of the best protection, there are also disposable and cloth masks available.
N95 and KN95 masks are designed to meet standards for personal protective equipment. These masks filter out certain particles while maintaining airflow, making them a great choice for medical professionals and other at-risk individuals. However, N95 and KN95 masks are more expensive.
Cloth masks offer the least amount of protection, but they can still prevent the spread of some droplets. The benefit to cloth masks is that they're easy to reuse, but you have to make sure you wash them frequently.
Disposable masks are between cloth and N95/KN95 masks in terms of protection. Disposable masks are effective and sanitary since you only use them once.
KN95 vs. N95 Masks
While KN95 and N95 masks are technically different, they're the same in most ways. The primary difference is that the Chinese government regulates KN95 masks while N95 masks are regulated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Otherwise, KN95 and N95 masks are held to the same standards regarding filtration, so they're both top-notch choices when it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19.
Breathability vs Filtration
One thing you have to consider when you're choosing the right mask for you is the level of filtration versus the breathability of the mask you're using. While it's best to opt for a mask that offers premium filtration, a better filter generally means you're going to have a more difficult time breathing.
Breathability is crucial if you need to wear your mask while doing demanding activities. If that's the case, you may want to try different masks until you find something breathable enough for you to use.
Other Things to Consider
Size is another important factor to think about when you're choosing a mask. You want your mask to cover your mouth and nose comfortably, but you don't want it to be so large that you're able to breathe air in through gaps around the edge.
Adjustable masks are great if you find disposable masks uncomfortable. These masks can be adjusted at the ears, so you can make them tighter or looser depending on your needs.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right mask. KN95 and N95 masks are some of the best when it comes to protecting you from germs, but some people may find a cloth mask suits their needs better.
Whatever type of mask you choose, make sure you're wearing it the right way. Masks should be tightly sealed around the edges and cover both your nose and your mouth for optimal protection. By following proper mask-wearing protocol and making sure you're getting a mask that offers premium protection, you can significantly lower your odds of contracting COVID-19.