VIVO Clinic are now selling KN95 Masks. Read below to find out more about this type of mask, and how it is helping us to keep our staff and customers safe.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a variety of protective masks have come onto the market. At the current time, there are ongoing discussions about whether the general public should be wearing coronavirus masks when they are outside to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What are KN95 masks?
KN95 masks are one of many ‘filtering facepiece respirators’ (FFR). FFR must meet specific physical and performance criteria in order to be recommended for public use during a pandemic. KN95 masks provide similar protection to N95 masks, which match US standards.
KN95 masks filter at least 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, which is the same as N95 masks. Interestingly, scientific research has shown that filtering facepiece respirators are extremely effective at catching particles that are even smaller. These masks are not designed to filter oil particles.
Another similarity between the two types of masks is that they both have the same filtration efficiency of 85 L/minute. Filtration efficiency refers to the amount of contaminant that is removed by the filter within the mask.
In order for KN95 masks to be certified for use, tests are conducted to prove that the masks yield a maximum internal leakage of 8% or less. It is important to note that N95 masks do not have to undergo any such tests before they can be put onto the market.
Overall, KN95 masks are very similar to N95 masks, both of which provide adequate protection from harmful particles in the air. You can find out more about the different types of coronavirus masks here.
According to an article published by The New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it ‘will allow the use of a more widely available mask that meets Chinese standards instead of American ones.’
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these coronavirus masks reusable?
There is not a definitive answer about whether masks such as the KN95 mask are reusable. Some sources advise extended use rather than reusing the mask. However, this poses a greater risk of contamination, as the outer surface of the mask could come into contact with a range of bacteria, particularly if they are worn by healthcare professionals who are working with patients. This means that the wearer could get infected, or unknowingly pass bacteria onto others.
Furthermore, if coronavirus masks are reused or washed, this could impair their efficiency, and damage the filters. If the fit of the mask is affected, and there are gaps present between the mask and the face, you should not reuse the mask.
The World Health Organisation states that you should throw the mask away as soon as it becomes damp. When taking the mask off, you should remove it from behind in order to avoid contact with the front of the mask, which may be contaminated. Place it in a sealed bin and wash your hands straight away.
How do I know if the mask is on properly?
When you place the mask on, there should be no gaps between your face and the mask. The mask must cover both the mouth and nose. The stiff edge of the mask should be placed over your nose.
Before you place the coronavirus mask onto your face, you should ensure that you wash your hands properly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitiser.
When should I use a mask?
At the moment, the World Health Organisation advise that you should wear a mask if you are coughing and sneezing regularly, or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Those who are taking care of people who may be suffering with COVID-19 should also wear a coronavirus mask.
Do I need to do anything before I wear the mask, or while I am wearing it?
You must clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser before you put the mask on.
While you are wearing the mask, you must refrain from touching the outer surface of the mask, as it may be contaminated. If you do so, you should sanitise your hands immediately.
How do researchers test the leakage of protective masks?
To test leakage researchers must conduct a fit test, in order to accurately measure how many particles escape when a member of the public may be wearing the mask. During the test, a person must wear a mask that is connected to a machine, which tests air both inside and outside of the mask.
While some may argue that coronavirus masks do not fit everybody, a study conducted on 22 Chinese citizens resulted in a median fit score of 99.5%.
What are the other types of FFR?
Aside from KN95 masks, which adhere to Chinese standards, there are a few other types of FFR. These include N95 and FFP2 masks. N95 masks comply to US standards, whilst FFP2 masks meet European standards. There are also P2 masks which adhere to Australian and New Zealand standards and DS masks, which comply to Japanese standards.
What are FFP2 masks?
FFP2 masks are manufactured to comply with European standards. In comparison to KN95 and N95 masks, FFP2 are required to have a filter performance of at least 94% rather than 95%. Furthermore, similarly to KN95 masks, they have an internal leakage of 8% or less.
There are a lot of fake masks on the market. How do I spot a fake?
You should look out for any spelling mistakes, and any odd labels. Furthermore, if the masks come with ear-loops or just a single string, this could be a sign that the masks are fake.
You may also be able to notice a difference in how the mask should feel. No particles or fibres should come off the coronavirus mask. If you find that it is hard to breathe when wearing the mask, this indicates that the mask is not genuine.