CORONAVIRUS; this name has become a synonym for terror in current time. Covid-19 cases are increasing day by day and the fright it has caused has now become incessant.
Whenever we talk about coronavirus and protection from it, masks make a very important safety pillar. Government and medical professionals have been constantly emphasizing on the importance and guide to wear a mask. Even every citizen is aware and acting responsible now. Whenever you step out, you will see everyone around you wearing a mask.
As the need of these face masks is rising, their manufacturers are also rising. There is a wide variety of face masks available out in the market. From light-weight masks to running masks, formal ones, wedding masks, kids wear masks to funky ones; there is a wide choice present there for us.
Similarly, there are two mask’s names that are very much in use nowadays. These are N95 and KN95 face masks. Although the names of both the masks are very similar, one should not be confused of both being one and the same thing. You might have heard that, KN95 masks are the best and most advisable choice. But just to make things more clear, let’s have a brief look on basic differences between the two.
What is the actual meaning of KN95 or N95?
For most of us, KN95 or N95 are just names. Not being a member of the medical field, we don’t understand the meaning behind these names which starts all the confusion in our heads. So, firstly let’s understand the basic meaning of an N95 mask!
According to health standards of most of the countries, the most protective face covering to secure a person from coronavirus is one that has a particle filtration efficiency of more than or at least equal to 95%.
KN95 masks are the masks that meet China’s standards in the case of particle filtration efficiency and N95 masks meets the standards of US. So, basically, we can say that the major difference between both the masks is the country where they got certified from.
Similarities between KN95 and N95 masks
As we discussed above, the main similarity between the two masks is their particle filtration efficiency. Both the masks are 95% efficient in filtering the non-oily particles of air. This is the reason why both the masks have 95 in their names. Except this, both the types of mask are made by multiple layers of cloth to maximize the protection from virus. The cloth used in both of them is generally made of a non-woven synthetic fibre.
Differences between KN95 and N95 masks
By now, we know that there are not many differences between the two masks. One can say that N95 are US equivalents to China’s KN95. However, there are a few differences between the two.
Let’s have a look at these-
- Chinese government has made a strict rule for the manufacturers to get their masks certified as KN95. This rule states that, a mask needs to be tested on a real human for its fit to meet the standards of KN95. Only a mask that has at least 92% fit can be certified as a KN95 mask. However, US government doesn’t demand any human fit test for a mask to be certified as N95.
- Another difference between the two is related to breathability. The N95 masks need to meet strict breathability standards. The breathability standards are measured on the basis of pressure drop. An N95 mask should have a pressure drop of less than 343 pa on inhalation and less than 245 pa on exhalation. (**Pa is a unit of measuring pressure**)
In general sense, one can understand that N95 masks are a bit more comfortable in breathing than KN95 masks.
- N95 masks provide a better grip. They contain elastic straps that go around your head when you wear it. This provides a tighter grip than a KN95 mask. However, many people feel uncomfortable as well due to these straps. KN95 masks have ear loops instead of straps that are comparatively more comfortable.
- Also, KN95 masks, due to the presence of ear loops instead of strap bands are easy to put on and off as compared to N95.
- KN95 masks are generally cheaper than N95 masks.
How to check the originality of a N95 mask?
As the demand for N95 masks has risen drastically, companies have started manufacturing similar looking masks. There are hundreds of duplicate N95 masks being sold out in the market. And, for people like us, it is a very typical job to discriminate between an original and a duplicate mask. So, here we bring to you some easy ways that might help you check whether a mask is original or not!
- Most of the certified masks feature a label on it or on the packaging.
- Check for the presence of an approval number (TC). It may be present on the headband or the respirator.
- A certified mask doesn’t feature any decorative items such as ribbons, pearls, sequins etc. on it.
- A certified N95 or KN95 mask is not suitable for kids. If a mask claims to be suitable for children, it’s not a certified one.
- An N95 mask will always have a NIOSH marking.