Watch out for fake N-95 masks being sold online

Jeff Ehling Image
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Watch out for fake N-95 masks being sold online
Here's how to quickly spot if the N-95 you found may be too good to be true.

While a cloth face mask is good enough for personal use during the coronavirus pandemic, many people are searching for N-95 masks because of their high level of protection.

Many people searching for N-95's have come across KN-95's instead, and the question is: Is there a difference?

The answer is yes.

N-95's are built to a U.S. standard, and KN-95's are built to a Chinese standard.

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However, both are made to filter out 95% of tiny particles in the air that could carry coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control says KN-95's are an acceptable substitute during a pandemic.

However, the real issue is fake masks.

The CDC has an entire website set up to help you see the difference and spot a fake.

Real N-95 masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Often times, the mask will have a NIOSH logo, which is distinctive.

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If your mask says it is NIOSH approved but the logo is wrong or it is misspelled, it is a fake.

It can be hard to find an N-95, and remember the ones used in the hospital are fit tested to the wearer, which you won't get from a store bought mask.

Doctors ABC13 spoke with say for the general public, a fabric mask is just fine.

SEE ALSO: Do cloth face masks really work? We tested them in the lab

"One that has multiple layers, one that is stitched, is going to provide the public safety against infecting someone else," said Dr. Ruth Bush with University of Houston College of Medicine. "N-95's, there's really no need. They should be reserved for health care workers."

If you buy a mask thinking it is a real N-95 and it is not, you will probably have a false sense of security. If you are taking care of a sick person and can't find an N-95 mask, doctors say wear a cloth mask and a face shield.

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