The CDC has suggested wearing N95 or KN95 because they offer the best protection against COVID-19.
With the need for high-quality masks on the rise, be careful of counterfeit masks hitting the market.
High demand for high-quality masks
At the beginning of the pandemic N95 or KN95 were not initially recommended for the general population. They feared that increased demand for the more protective masks would reduce their availability for healthcare workers. Read more about it here.
Now that the higher quality masks are being recommended to the general public, you probably want to know where you can get one.
The government bought N95 masks for all Americans. Up to three free masks will be made available to Americans.
Local health offices will provide the most help in finding distribution locations near you.
How can I be sure the N95 isn’t counterfeit?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) helps users navigate the mask market. Each mask should have an abbreviated label on the respirator itself with the following information listed clearly.
All N95 and KN95 masks should have:
- Name or logo of the approval holder
- TC Approval Number – in the format TC-84A-XXXX
- Model or part number
- Protection rating – NIOSH follows the alpha-numerical rating system (N95, KN95, N99, etc…)
- NIOSH, in block capital letters
Counterfeit N95 masks haven’t gone through the rigorous testing and evaluation process. This means that using a fake N95 mask does not ensure proper protection.
These fake masks are primarily being sold online.