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A Breakdown of Face Mask Differences

Apr 5, 2022 | 0 comments

Over the past two years, the world has seen the emergence and spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, the recent advances in mRNA technology has allowed the ability to quickly supply vaccines as the virus continues to evolve into its many variants. While vaccines definitely help provide protection, it’s clear that vaccinated individuals can still catch COVID-19 and transmit it to others. Additionally, with the rapid spread of the recent Omicron strain being much more transmittable than any previous variant, it’s more important now than ever to mask up in an effort to stop the spread.

With all the mask types available, it can get overwhelming choosing the mask that ensures you the best protection. Here’s a breakdown of which masks will confidently protect you from Omicron, and which masks provide little more than a facial decoration.

N95 Masks & Respirators

Just to be clear, N95 masks offer the most secure protection against COVID-19 and other harmful airborne particles. The N in N95 stands for its NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health) air filtration rating class, which in this case is N for Not resistant to oil, meaning the mask does not protect wearers against oil particles. Fortunately, the 95 stands for the NIOSH 95% filtration efficiency rating of 0.3 microns or greater.

N95 masks are designed to create a tight seal around the wearers nose and mouth using the masks elastic headbands and adjustable metal band over the nose. Keep in mind that an N95 masks should be worn no more than 5 times. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, N95 masks have been the American standard for maximum protection. While in 2020 there was a short supply of N95 masks available, there’s fortunately now plenty of these masks in supply to purchase. Here’s a few of the most popular N95 masks we carry:

3-Ply Masks

A 3-ply disposable face mask is a surgical mask commonly worn by nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. These masks are created with fibers made of synthetic materials and the 3-ply term refers to its three layers of materials used in the manufacturing of each mask. While often just called a surgical mask, these masks offer 95% filtration protection as long as the wearer discards their 3-ply mask after only one use.

Being a mask that’s also available to every citizen and not just exclusively healthcare workers, it’s important to make sure your mask is properly secured around your nose and mouth before going out. 3-ply surgical masks provide a perfect option for those looking for high protection against COVID-19 on an affordable budget. Here’s a few of the most popular 3-ply masks we carry:

KN95 Masks

Truthfully, the effectiveness of KN95 masks provide unreliable results, which is why we don’t provide these kinds of masks in our online shop. KN95 masks are considered the Chinese equivalent of N95 masks, meaning that they aren’t NIOSH approved and their effectiveness is regulated by the Chinese government. These masks feature a tentlike shape around your nose and provide a slightly less secure fit over the wearers nose and mouth. While this mask is considered to still be 95% effective against airborne particulates, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that roughly 60% of the global KN95 masks are fakes that don’t meet any safety standards.

KF94 Masks

The KF in KF94 stands for Korean Filter, and it’s been recorded that these masks filter 94% of particles according to the South Korean government. Due to the high volume of counterfeit KF94 masks out there, and the lack of confident studies pertaining to this mask’s effectiveness, we don’t sell KF94 masks in our online shop.

Cloth Masks

Given how common it is to see people walking around with cloth masks, it’s surprising to know just how inadequate they really are. There’s no oversight or regulation when it comes to how cloth masks are woven, so there’s really no way to accurately predict how protected wearers are against harmful airborne particles. While cloth masks offer better protection then no mask at all, it’s recommended to stay home if a cloth mask is your only wearable option.

Pacific Medical Products

Masking up is one of the best ways to prevent spreading COVID-19. Whether you’re looking for face masksO2 Nose Filters, or other protective equipment, you can find all the PPE you need at Pacific Medical Products. We understand there’s a lot of concern about fake 3M masks, which is why we purchase all our 3M masks directly from two of the world’s largest 3M distributors, Medline and McKesson, who by contract only buy direct from 3M. Every mask is 100% authentic with lot numbers that can be tracked back to the manufacturer. Quality and trust are of utmost importance to us here at Pacific Medical Products. You can buy with confidence.