Since the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face masks like the KN95 has gained popularity. A Face mask covers the nose and mouth and effectively limits the risk of contracting respiratory tract infections. The CDC recommends that persons in risk areas should protect themselves by wearing face masks and adhering to other preventive measures.
Masks come in various types, which are categorized based on their effectiveness at preventing the transmission of pathogens. Of all these kinds of face masks, the KN95 is one of those that has become very popular. There are recommendations from the CDC about the types of masks that can be won. However, mask users can determine their choice of face mask by understanding what each type of mask is and how they work.
What are KN95 Masks?
KN95 face masks are semi respirators that have been used in the medical and industrial sector long before the use of face masks became conventional. Respirators are quite different from the more common surgical masks in that they fit firmly on the face and filter out more airborne particles.
KN95 stands next to N95 masks in terms of quality and efficiency. N95 face masks have been restricted for use by health care providers alone. This is so that supplies of the masks can be monitored and health workers can have enough face mask reserves. While N95 masks are the US standard for high filtration face masks, KN95 masks are the Chinese variants and can be used by persons who seek the highest protection they can obtain from the use of face masks.
KN95 masks are made from non-woven synthetic fiber. They come with elastic strings that can be tied at the back of the head and can be worn on the neck when not in use. A KN95 mask filters out more particles than surgical masks and cloth masks. The masks usually bear a label that indicates their quality grade as respirators. They may or may not come with breathing valves.
How Effective are KN95 Masks in Preventing Infections?
N95 and KN95 face masks are called for their ability to filter out up to 95% of particles with 0.3 microns in size. The filtering efficiency is about 99% for particles as small as 0.1 microns. It may be possible to eliminate even a higher percentage of particles per micron size using KN95 depending on the production quality. Coronaviruses have a size of approximately 0.125 microns.
In order for a virus to spread, it must attach to media such as droplets from the mouth or nose. The average size of cough droplets is about 8.35 microns, making the KN95 very efficient in limiting the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other flues. Suppose a lone coronavirus can successfully land on a KN95; the mask has enough filtering power to prevent the virus from getting to its other side.
Who Can Use KN95 Masks?
Anyone, including health care workers, can wear KN95 masks. They can be worn in public to reduce the risk of contracting respiratory tract infections and can be used in industries to filter dust, aerosols, and other dangerous particles away from the nose.
Persons already diagnosed with infectious diseases such as COVID-19 can also wear KN95 masks as they limit the transmission of droplets from the wearer’s airways to the external environment.
KN95 Vs. FFP Masks
Filtering Face Pieces (FFP masks) are commonly referenced when face masks are being discussed. FFP masks are half masks like the KN95 but are the European Union’s standard for quality respirators. KN95 and FFP masks are similar in efficiency, and both can be worn for medical and industrial purposes.
FFP masks are divided into three grades, with each type recommended to specific populations depending on the size of hazardous particles they are exposed to:
- FFP1 Masks: These are best for filtering large or coarse particles such as sand speckles and sawdust. They can be used in carpentry workshops, mining sites, and related kinds of workplaces. FFP1 masks are not recommended for protection against viral infections.
- FFP2 Masks: They meet the international standards of N99 and EN149 masks. They are efficient than typical surgical masks in preventing respiratory tract infections.
- FFP3 Masks: FFP3 masks are mostly used in scientific labs to protect against harmful radiations and radioactive particles. They can also be worn to prevent viral infection.
KN95 masks are one of the best-grade masks recommended for protection against coronaviruses and other known flues. They are Chinese variants of the US N95 standard masks and can also be worn by health care professionals. According to American standards, KN95 masks can offer reasonable protection against respiratory infections. For the best results, they are to be used in accordance with the guidelines provided by the CDC for protection against COVID-19 infection.