The Delta variant has become the dominant strain of COVID, now accounting for over 93% of all cases in the United States, mostly among the unvaccinated population.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their mask guidelines last month. The agency now recommends that people living in areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission wear masks indoors again. Almost two-thirds of counties in the United States have high or substantial transmission, according to CDC data, including 21 from New Jersey.
But, are N95 face masks with valves safe for COVID-19 protection?
Yes, the CDC says that an N95 mask with a valve protects you and others from COVID-19.
“A NIOSH approved N95 filter mask respirator with an exhalation valve offers the same protection to the wearer as a device without a valve,” according to the CDC. “As source control, NIOSH research results suggest that, even without covering the valve, N95 respirators with exhalation valves provide the same or better source control than surgical masks, procedural masks, fabric masks or fabric coverings. “
An N95 mask “is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very tight facial fit and highly effective filtration of airborne particles,” according to the FDA. Fit testing is also recommended to ensure a secure fit.
N95 masks were once hard to find as they were in high demand at the start of the pandemic, leading customers to purchase KN95 masks. But now there are many N95 masks available now.
KN95 masks are a cheaper alternative to N95 masks, as long as they “meet requirements similar to those set by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators,” according to the CDC.
Several reputable merchants specialize in selling NIOSH certified N95 and KN95 masks with reasonably fast shipping, including companies like N95 Medical Supplies, N95MaskCo, and Well Before.
Below is an overview of where you can purchase CDC-certified N95 and KN95 face masks if you decide to upgrade, along with disposable mask options.
Where to buy N95 face masks with valves online:
- 3M N95 respirator masks (box of 10) for $ 45
Where to buy wholesale N95 face masks online:
Where to buy simple N95 face masks online:
Where to buy KN95 face masks in bulk online
- KN95 face masks with protective respirator, pack of 50 for $ 74.99
- KN95 face masks with protective respirator, pack of 10 on sale for $ 17.99
Disposable face masks you can buy wholesale online:
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