KN95 Mask vs N95 Mask – Current FDA Guidelines Surrounding COVID-19 Pandemic
Everyone was busy in the hustle and bustle of life and enjoying a normal routine; then suddenly, the pandemic of the COVID-19 happened at the start of the year 2020. It changed the life of every person by 360 degrees and affected all the matters of our life. During such pandemics, health authorities order certain SOPs, including face respirator masks such as KN95 and N95 respirator masks. Various compliance and guidelines are issued during this critical time by the government agencies to help combat the pandemic and spread of virus. The FDA and CDC ensure people’s health and safety through these guidelines for achieving a specific standard.
N95 Respirator Masks
N95 respirators masks are the most commonly used face masks in the United States. They create a tight air steal around the face to prevent air entry, and they are capable of filtering >95% of harmful air particles. N95 respirator masks do not need any clearance from the FDA, and they are controlled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until they are manufactured for medical purposes. Surgical-specific N95 do obtain a “surgical” use clearance by the CDC and FDA under an EUA. Nevertheless, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA cleared through an EUA that health care workers can use any N95 mask as of March 2, 2020.
KN95 Respirator Masks
KN95 masks are prepared by using 5 layers of non-woven meltblown and electrostatic materials, including cotton. The materials that make the KN95 masks are recyclable. KN95 respirator masks filter >95% of harmful air particles. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic emergency in 2020, the FDA's guidelines were issued for the use of KN95. They authorized its usage for community and healthcare professionals to expand face masks' accessibility for the general public. This helped tremendously due to the shortage of N95 masks.
KN95 Masks vs. N95 Masks
It might not be very clear to understand the difference between the KN95 mask vs. N95 mask with similar names. Every country has their own standards depending upon their application and safety guidelines. The same is the case with these respirator masks. N95 respirator masks are regulated by US standards. KN95 and N95 masks are nearly identical standards of each other with only some slight differences. A KN95 can also be produced in USA and utilized with identical international criteria to make USA Made KN95. Any country can manufacture whichever standard they prefer, to fit the overall objective under the standard. Many nurses and medical personnel often times prefer to wear a FDA Approved KN95 mask because of comfort with having ear loop design, ease of putting them on/off - when having to wear it for extended period of time. A lot comes to personal preference and fit.
Both of them are capable of filtering particles with efficiency greater than 95%, and they make an airtight seal around the face to prevent the entry of air. FDA has approved the use of KN95 respiratory masks in emergencies in case when N95 respirator masks are not available under the present US regulatory framework. One other difference between KN95 mask vs. N95 mask is their style of wearing. N95 has two headstraps; one goes behind the top of the head above the ears while the other is set under the ears. While in the case of the KN95 mask, an ear loop design is used for wearing it.
As everything has its’ pros and cons, the same applies to the differences between KN95 mask vs. N95 mask. KN95 is easy to wear and take off due to its ear loops, while it gets a bit difficult with N95. Moreover, you may feel uncomfortable due to the seal of N95 as it is very tight, but it is designed for maximum protection. While considering the cost of the KN95 mask vs. the N95 mask, the N95 respirator mask is a bit costly as compared to KN95. Conclusively, both are safe and secure; you can use both of them depending upon your affordability and desired comfort level.