NATIONWIDE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidance on facemasks and respirators such as N95 and KN95s.
The updates which were posted to the CDC website on Jan. 14 emphasizes that people use properly fitting masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 and its variants.
It also goes into details on the differences between respirators, and what to look for when choosing one to wear.
The CDC also explains what to look for when choosing a respirator.
“When choosing a respirator, look at how well it fits and read the manufacturer instructions. These instructions should include information on how to wear, store, and clean or properly dispose of the respirator. Respirators have markings printed on the product to indicate they are authentic, see appropriate N95 markings and KN95 markings.”
People who buy respirators should be aware that not all are held to the same standards.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that about 60 percent of KN95 respirators evaluated during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 did not meet their standards.
For cloth masks the CDC says they should meet the following criteria:
- A proper fit over your nose, mouth, and chin to prevent leaks
- Multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric (e.g. quilting fabric)
- Nose wire
- Fabric that blocks light when held up to bright light source.
Regardless of which of these mask types are used, studies have shown that consistent mask wearing helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For a complete list of NIOSH approved personal protective equipment, click here.