During the COVID-19 situation, there has been a surging demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). That includes a sky-high demand for face masks. Since there is more than one type of facemask available, it is important to know the difference between the most commonly used facemasks. One of the most widely used facemasks is the KN95 mask. So the question is, “Can you use this KN95 mask in hospitals?” First, let’s take a look at what exactly what a KN95 mask is and what is it used for
What is a KN95 mask?
A KN95 mask is a mask that is mostly used for industrial work. Those who work around dust and industrial materials will use a KN95 mask to protect their nose and mouth from bacteria and other small particles that are harmful to the lungs. These masks are widely available from industrial supply stores and available, in limited supply, at hardware stores and online.
KN95 facts and figures
Here is a look at some of the most important facts and figures that pertain to the KN95 face mask.
- Filter performance ≥ 95%
- Test agent – NaCl
- Flow rate – 85 liters per minute
- Total inward leakage (TIL)* – tested on human subjects ≤ 8% leakage
- Inhalation resistance – ≤ 350 Pa
- Filter particle size up to 0.3 microns from the air
What is a KN95 mask made of?
The KN95 mask is made of a number of layers that are designed to allow for the continued flow of air through the mask while protecting the face and the nose from particle ingestion. Here are the main materials used in the production of a KN95 mask.
- Soft on-woven material outer first layer
- Elastic material on the second layer
- KN95 adsorbing layer
- Non-woven material inner layer
Most KN95 masks will have four or five layers of material. The structure of all of these masks is typically the same. You will have non-woven layers on the inner and outer layer with a particle filtration layer somewhere in the center of the mask.
What is the difference between a N95 and KN95 mask?
The N95 mask is a surgical mask that is often used in hospitals and by medical staff. The KN95 mask is used by industrial workers to protect their face and nose from dust and industrial materials. While both masks are designed to protect the face and the nose, the N95 mask is designed more for viral protection than the KN95 mask.
Can a KN95 mask be used in hospitals?
The K95 mask is the preferred mask for the hospital. However, on April 9, 2020, the FDA has given approval for use of the KN95 mask by hospital and medical staff. This FDA allows over 100 different types of KN95 respirators of use by medical staff.
Who a KN95 be used to protect you from the Coronavirus?
While the KN95 mask is not designed specifically for protection against viruses, it is recommended that the KNN95 mask be sued if an N95 mask is not available. In addition to N95 and KN95 masks, the FDA also recommends the following face coverings in order to protect against infection.
- N95 Respirators
- Dust Masks
- Neoprene Masks
- Bandanas and Neck Gaiters
- Cloth Masks
According to most medial experts, any face covering is betteer than no face covering in order to slow the transmission of any virus.
Where can you get a KN95 mask?
You can get a KN95 mask at your local hardware store, online retailer or big box retail store. However, due to the high demand, it will be hard to find a KN95 mask. It is recommended that you check the inventory of all three of these places each day to see when a new supply of KN95 masks is available.
Can you reuse a KN95 mask?
Yes, you can reuse a KN95 mask even though the mask was not designed for reuse. The KN95 mask can continue to be used as long as the mask itself has not been damaged in any way. Also, the KN95 should only be reused by the same individual to prevent the transmission of any viral infection.
Can you wash a KN95 mask?
Yes. it is possible to wash and disinfect a KN95 mask. However, it is not recommended that you soak the mask in water and soap due to the face that the mask is made out of cloth and paper. Instead, you can follow these steps in order to properly clean a KN95 mask.
- Use a small amount of soap and water
- Wipe the exterior of the mask with the soap and water
- Allow the mask to dry before use
If you do not have soap and water, you can also use bleach to clean the outer layer of the mask.
How long does a KN95 mask last?
A KN95 mask can last as long as the mask has not been damaged. Here are the situations when you will want to discard a KN95 mask.
- Discard the mask if it contains blood, nasal discharge or any other bodily fluids.
- Discard the mask if you come into contact with someone who is a carrier of the coronavirus.
- Discard any mask if it becomes to hard to breathe through.
How to tell a real KN96 mask from the counterfeit KN95 mask
Due to the high number of counterfeit KN95 masks, you will want to make sure that you have a mask that is able to effectively stop the flow of viruses and bacteria to your face. Here is one way to check if your KN95 is authentic.
- Check for the NIOSH approval label on the packaging of the mask
- Check for any NIOSH markings on the mask.
- Check to see if NIOSH is spelled correctly.
- Authentic KN95 masks will have a headband instead of ear loops.
Using the KN95 during the COVID-19 situation
A KN95 mask can play an important role in keeping you safe. Make sure that you have an authentic KN95 mask. Finally, be sure to clean your mask after each use and discard the mask when necessary.