Everyone needs N95 masks; but here are the best alternatives

Source: Joseph G. Allen, Washington Post (Paid Registration)

Until our country invokes the Defense Production Act to produce more N-95 masks, here’s my cheat sheet: If you can find an N95, go for it. These are certified in the United States. Barring that, I’d go for the certified mask used in South Korea, the KF94. Next I’d choose KN95s, but there is a catch: The government reports that KN95s out of China might not meet standards unless the manufacturer holds a “NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Certificate.

If you can’t find one of these masks, or if you’re not sure whether they meet the standards, there’s something you can do right now with confidence: Double-mask with a surgical mask and a cloth mask. The surgical mask gives you good, certified filtration, while the cloth mask on top helps improve the fit. Research shows this can achieve greater than 90 percent filtration.

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