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MASKS…3-ply, KN95’s, N95’s, oh my!

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Whether you are for or against masks, they are a thing now! Depending on where you are or what you are doing, you may be required to put one on.

I want to throw a quick disclaimer in based on the fact that there are such strong opinions out there on this matter. Belden Nu’uvali is not here to tell anyone whether or not they should be wearing a mask. We make our supplies available to those who want or need them and share data regarding the efficiency, safety, and data related to their use.

Trust us......we got this information from smart people.

The general public has been advised to wear cloth face covering while in public in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While these cloth solutions are acceptable for individual organizations such as schools and businesses need masks that have been certified as effective.

So let’s break down some of the options.

For the most part the general public should only need to create a barrier that reduces their chances of spreading the virus. To do this you can use any cloth face covering that meets the following requirements:

  • Close-fitting to the sides of your face

  • Secured with ties or ear loops

  • Should be made with more than one layer of fabric

  • Allows breathing without substantial restriction

  • Should be safe to machine-wash and dry

Many people choose to make their own masks. Instructions can be found all over the internet. You can use various household items (bandanas, t-shirts, rubber bands, hair ties, etc.) The design that we found very easy can be found here and doesn’t even require a sewing machine!

If you are a business owner, work in a public setting or are a healthcare professional who is at risk of direct contact, the standards step up a notch. You are going to a mask that has been tested for fluid resistance and filtration efficiency. These start out with 3ply “surgical or procedure” masks and can also include both N95 respirator masks as well as KN95 respirator masks for medical professionals. Whenever looking into N95 or KN95 masks, make sure they are listed on the CDC’s list of approved manufacturers.

  • 3ply surgical or procedure masks are loose-fitting. They are primarily effective at helping reduce the spread of the virus or germs coming from a sneeze, breath or cough. They are also effective at blocking large particle droplets from splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain viruses and bacteria. They do NOT filter or block all particles from coughs, sneezes, or medical procedures.

  • N95 respirators fit tight to the face and form a seal around the nose and mouth. CDC guidance says they should filter and block 95% of small particles

  • Children or adults with facial hair will not get the full benefit of an N95 or KN95 respirator as it will not be able to achieve the necessary fit to provide full protection

  • Discard of your mask after each use by placing it into a plastic bag and putting it in the trash

  • Wash your hands immediately after removal

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