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Back in January, I wrote a post about why it would be smart to buy some N95 masks before the panic shopping sets in again.
Unfortunately, it looks like I could just change the date of that post to today’s since it seems like we’re headed back down that dark path again. At least this time around, it appears that those who are vaccinated are in much better shape unless they have an underlying condition or are pregnant.
Last year, there were a lot of difficulties and confusion about getting N95 masks since they were needed first and foremost by frontline workers. Fortunately, there’s been plenty of time for companies to ramp up production so there’s no longer a dire shortage and the masks are now much cheaper.
I realize that most people don’t want to wear a mask, especially on an airplane. But the mask mandate isn’t going away until at least September 13 and I’m guessing that it will be extended yet again, thanks to new COVID-19 variants and flu season starting up around that time.
I’m actually happy about it because one of my biggest pet peeves about flying before the pandemic was passengers not covering their mouths when they coughed or sneezed. FYI: Here are my other air travel pet peeves.
I live in Los Angeles and just yesterday, our county reimposed the mask mandate while indoors. I don’t think it’s a big deal since many stores kept requiring it anyway and most customers still wore their masks even though they no longer had to.
Now, with these new, more contagious variants, it’s smart to think about upgrading your mask and to do it while they’re readily available and cheap.
What prompted this article is that one of the health experts I follow, and who has been pretty much spot-on for the past year, just tweeted a CBS News article in which he was quoted. Scott Gottlieb, the Former FDA Chief, said, “to protect against the variant, it’s important for people to invest in high-quality face coverings, such as N95 masks.”
Gottlieb went on to say: “Quality of mask is going to make a difference with a variant that spreads more aggressively like Delta does, where people are more contagious and exude more virus.”
“Trying to get N95 masks into the hands of vulnerable individuals in places where this is really epidemic I think is going to be important, even in cases where they’re vaccinated, if they want to add another layer of protection.”
I wouldn’t have even thought of wearing an N95 face mask until I watched his interview and heard from a friend that three of her friends who were fully vaccinated with Moderna (which is what I had) caught COVID-19 and one of them had it really bad.
Another medical expert I follow is Dr. Jonathan Reiner (Professor of Medicine and Surgery at The George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences and a CNN Medical Analyst). Back in January, I asked him whether the general public should wear an N95 or a KN95 face mask and he tweeted back: “I would absolutely recommend an N-95 or KN-95 mask.” FYI: Some experts even go so far as to say that N95 masks are the way to end the pandemic.
I would absolutely recommend an N-95 or KN-95 mask.
— Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD) January 22, 2021
To answer another reader’s question, I followed up with: “Where do you recommend getting them? Amazon? Particular brand? Thanks again!” Dr. Reiner replied, “I don’t have a go to source. If you can find genuine 3M masks, that would be ideal.”
I don’t have a go to source. If you can find genuine 3M masks, that would be ideal.
— Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD) January 22, 2021
-If you can’t get an N95 mask, then wear a KN95 mask, which is almost as good.
-If you get the N95 with a valve, wear a surgical mask over it so you don’t pollute the air with your germs.
-It’s important to wear both masks properly, which is not easy. If worn properly, it’s almost impossible to get the virus. Here’s how to properly put them on and take them off.
What’s the difference between N95 and KN95?
While people tend to refer to N95s and KN95s as face masks, technically, they are respirators that completely seal to your skin and require proper fitting, while cloth face masks act as a barrier to keep particles and droplets away. The difference between N95s and KN95s s largely comes down to regulatory standards. N95s are regulated by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. whereas KN95s are typically regulated by the Chinese government. According to Men’s Health, N95 and KN95 respirators “filter out 95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in diameter, explains Dr. Michael Schivo, a pulmonologist and an associate professor of internal medicine at UC Davis Health. “That’s important because most bacteria are larger than 0.3 microns,” he says. “Many virus particles are small, and some are smaller than 0.3 microns, but they’re suspended in water droplets that make them effectively bigger. So these masks filter out 95 percent of those small particles.” Read the whole article here.
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