KN95 vs. N95 Masks. Due to the shortage of N95 masks, we have to consider using equally effective alternate options. N95 is a certification issued by US authorities. Masks that have equally effective properties as N95 masks go by different names in different countries based on their independent certification systems. (KN95 – China, P2 – AS/NZ, 1st Class – Korea, DS FFRs – Japan). Considering the life and death situation we face in the hospitals, we have to push our health care administrators to consider getting us these equally effective alternative options since N95s are not available. At the end of the day, we have to prioritize our patient’s health, our health and our families health.
Custom fit KN95 masks
After jumping through multiple hoops, we finally get hold of FFP2 / KN95 masks. That’s great, now we have masks with a good quality material that can defend us against the virus. Problem is, they are one size fits all – regular size. This results in a poor seal, and a high risk for air leaks. We have to use some street-smart tricks to make sure that the mask creates a good seal.
We have been using two techniques to help customize the masks to the wearer, and secure a tight seal:
Adjusting the size of elastic straps by tying a knot at the end of the straps. This reduces the length of the straps to the desired fit, thereby creating a tight seal to prevent any leaks.
Nose bridge is another common site for an air leak. We bought aluminum nose clips that are bendable and have a self-adhesive on one side. We stick these strips on the nose bridge part of the mask, to make it a compact and tight fit on the nose. This prevents fogging of glasses, and also prevents air leaks.
The eventual goal is to prevent any air leaks. Unfortunately, the design/material of surgical masks and bandanas (home made masks) create too much air leak. There are many common misperceptions of what masks to use, and when to use