UMass Memorial Health Dr. Michael Hirsh said, “Cloth masks and … bandanas and homemade bandanas around their face are not effective against omicron. That is clear.” Information gathered from John Hopkins Medicine.
Don’t rely on a fabric mask alone anymore; they’re good at protecting others from your respiratory droplets, but not at protecting you against theirs, even with a filter pocket. A bandana tied around the face does not work as well as a mask because it is open at the bottom. A gaiter (a tube of thin, stretchy knit fabric that can be worn around the neck and pulled up to cover the nose and mouth) is usually too thin to provide adequate protection. A fabric mask usually is not much protection either.
Face Coverings we Recommend
Blue Disposable masks are fluid resistant and provide some protection from larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. Primarily, they help prevent the wearer from spreading infectious droplets to others.
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N95 respirator is the most protective face covering that you can get against omicron and other viruses. An N95 is a disposable face covering that filters out at least 95% of airborne particles.
KN95 mask, which is the Chinese equivalent of the US standard. KN95s are made from the same material as N95s and are also designed to filter at least 95% of airborne particles.
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KF94, the South Korean equivalent to an N95, which has a slightly different shape and 94% filtration efficacy.
Remember to Change Your Mask Often
Outside of a respiratory health crisis, any N95, KN95 or disposable surgical mask is meant to be worn only once. In most scenarios, healthcare professionals do not need to wear them for extended periods.
However, in other industries, workers routinely wear N95 respirators, KN95, or surgical masks for several hours at a time. Experience in these industries shows that disposable respirators can maintain their integrity for up to eight hours while functioning within their specifications.
Whether you’re wearing an N95, a KN95 or a KF94, it won’t be completely effective unless the face mask fits your face properly. Make sure it fits snugly, without gaps around your nose, face and mouth.