The N95 respirator mask has become increasingly popular because it’s inexpensive and serves an important purpose—to prevent potentially harmful particles from entering your respiratory system. You might have heard, however, that the K94 mask is the same as the N95. Is this true? What does the K94 mask do? In this article, we’ll go over what each type of mask does and when it should be used to help you decide which one best fits your needs. (In addition to the K94 and N95 masks, there are other types of masks you can use to keep out airborne contaminants.)
Protects Against What
An N95 respirator, or filtering facepiece respirator, or FFR, provides greater protection than the K94 respirator you probably grew up wearing as a child during flu season in school. The N95 (and other N-Series) respirators are also known as half-mask respirators because they cover only the nose and mouth areas of your face, while K-Series respirators cover your nose and mouth and extend up towards your eyes. But what’s the difference between an N95 and K94? Is K94 mask the same as N95? The answer may surprise you!
A N95 mask will protect against 95% of airborne particles—such as pollens, dust, viruses, and bacteria—that are 0.3 microns or larger in diameter. In comparison, a K94-certified respirator mask is designed to protect against airborne contaminants up to 10 microns in size.
Respiratory illness protection
According to data collected by NIOSH and CDC, for every 1,000 people that wear an N95 mask daily, 500 lives will be saved. This is a considerable improvement from what’s achieved with surgical masks that have no protection ratings. Although they do filter out larger particles of dust, they often do not prevent transmission of influenza or other respiratory illnesses.
There is a common misconception that N95 and K94 masks are essentially the same thing; after all, they’re both made by 3M, so how different could they be?
N95 vs. K94
If you haven’t already heard, there are two kinds of masks to be aware of—the N95 and K-94. Both are designed to help protect your health in times of pollution, but they work differently.
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