Woman puts on a KN95Photo: Xavier Cruells Aguilar (Shutterstock)

With the number of COVID cases still high and more contagious variants potentially spreading, it may be time to step up your masquerading. Double is a solution, but N95s and other high quality masks still provide the best filtration.

Unfortunately, it’s still difficult to find real N95s. The CDC continues to advise the general public not to buy N95s or surgical masks because they are needed for healthcare workers. Even if you wanted to buy them, they are rare on the ground. In addition, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently said CNN She fears that if the CDC recommends N95, people will find it uncomfortable and end up not wearing it.

Any mask is better than none, so it is better to have a cloth mask on your face than an N95 in your pocket. With that in mind, here are some of your options if you are looking for a quality mask.

Illustration for article titled How to Buy a Quality Mask

A better cloth mask

Cloth masks should be fitted well to your face so that air does not leak through gaps next to your nose or the sides of your face. When buying fabric masks, choose masks with multiple layers or a filter bag (and then use filters).

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Apple AirPods Pro

N95 masks

If you can find N95, that’s great, but be careful about fake ones. A legitimate N95 has a NIOSH logo and approval number that you can verify on the NIOSH website. We’d also recommend going over that CDC tips for spotting counterfeits. Real N95s never have ear loops, decorations, or labels for approval for children.

Illustration for article titled How to Buy a Quality Mask

KN95 masks

KN95 masks are approved in China and are similar to N95 masks, but it’s also difficult to get legitimate ones. A study by the ECRI Institute found this 70% of the masks tested were marked with KN95 does not meet the standard.

The The FDA has compiled a list of masks that may be used by health care workers during the pandemic, including some specific brands of KN95.

KF94 masks

KF94 is a South Korean name for a mask that is very similar to an N95. They are intended for the general public and NPR reports that they are both easier to find and cheaper than N95.

FFP2 masks

The European equivalent of an N95 is the FFP2. In Germany authorities Now you need this in some situationslike when using public transport.

Reusable elastomer masks

Elastomer masks are perhaps better known from home improvement projects than they are from healthcare. They have a rubbery part that fits your face and replaceable filters that are often in the shape of discs.

The CDC makes it possible for healthcare workersand find that they work well against the coronavirus. The filters are not designed to get wet, but as long as you keep them dry and clean you can reuse the mask without throwing anything away.