The coronavirus has had a big impact on virtually almost everyone today. It has affected our normal daily activities such as how we eat, travel, socialize, including our academic lives and careers.
When WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic in 2020, governments across the world moved to implement various measures to try and limit the spread of the contagious coronavirus. One such measure was the wearing of a face mask or a face covering when out in public.
Face masks were a completely new idea at the time, and there was a lot of friction and heated debate about their efficacy. As more and more people gradually warmed up to face masks, two face masks emerged as key tools in limiting the spread of Covid-19; N95 masks and KN95 masks.
For the average citizen, it can be hard to distinguish between the N95 and the KN95, especially because they have such similar-sounding names. Therefore, we took the liberty to create this guide so our readers can understand what these two types of masks are, the similarities between them, and what sets them apart that help you decide which one to buy online.
Let’s get into it.
What are N95 and KN95 Masks
N95 masks are widely regarded as the premium standard of face masks in medical North America. As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), N95 masks are designed to fit snugly to the face to provide a close fit and efficient filtration of airborne particles.
N95 masks are made of very rigid, yet flexible non-woven polypropylene fiber and are equipped with elastic bands that go behind the head to hold the mask in position. They are round in shape but protrude at the top to accommodate the nose.
KN95 masks, on the other hand, are closely related to N95s in both function and design. However, only N95s are approved for use by healthcare professionals in the U.S.
In What Other Ways Are They Similar?
KN95 and N95 masks share quite a few similarities. For starters, they are both made from layers of non-woven polypropylene fiber, and both filter up to 95% of 0.3 micron-sized airborne particles, hence the ‘95’ in their names.
They are both tested to determine the filtration efficiency by capturing salt particles at a flow rate of 85 liters a minute.
How Are They Different
As you can see, the N95 and KN95 masks are very similar and you might be wondering what sets them apart. Well, N95 masks are the U.S standard while KN95 are the Chinese standard.
You’ll also find that while N95 masks come with straps that go behind the head, the straps on KN95 masks go behind the ears. KN95 masks have slightly weaker breathability standards. This means that they have better inhale/exhale pressure standards but an average person may not tell the difference.
The Bottom Line
Although countries worldwide are currently undertaking Covid-19 vaccination programs, health officials insist that there is no reason for people to remove their masks just yet, especially when in crowded areas or traveling. This way, you’ll be able to keep yourself and those around you safe.