Monday, February 6, 2023

What is the difference between KN95 and KF94 masks?

As the Omicron variant spreads rapidly in Canada, experts and public health officials are once again driving home the importance of wearing properly fitted medical-grade masks to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

But with N95 masks in short supply and largely reserved for medical professionals, a growing number of retailers are advertising KN95 and KF94 masks as alternatives.

These masks – commonly known as respirators in the medical field – are more effective at filtering out particulates in the air, prompting a growing number of experts and public health officials to recommend their use over cloth masks. is inspired.

Contrary to some claims on social media, the KN95 and KF94 N95 masks are not “knock off”. So, what is the difference between the two?

Same level of filtration, different fit

When it comes to respirators, the number attached to the model indicates the filtration efficacy. Both the KN95 and KF94 masks come very close to the level of filtration found in N95 masks – they are simply different equivalents.

The KN95 mask is the Chinese equivalent of N95, both of which have a 95 percent filtration efficiency.

The chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. According to Gerald Evans, the KF94 mask is the Korean equivalent with a 94 percent filtration efficiency for filtering out particles 0.3 microns in size.

“These are both considered equivalent to N95, designated here in North America, and the ‘N’ in NIOSH, which is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health,” Evans told

“The only thing that’s really different is that the N95 mask has two elastics that wrap around your head… the KN95 and KF94 have ear loops that we’re used to seeing on cloth masks “

For reference, a regular blue surgical mask has a filtration efficiency of about 80 percent, provided it fits snugly over the face without too many gaps at the edges.

But here’s where fit—the most important ingredient—comes in.

While the N95, KN95 and KF94 masks boast high filtration efficiency, their efficiency is based entirely on how it fits.

In medical settings, doctors are put through a “fit test” to make sure their masks are stamped. This includes tests like smelling something through a mask (if you can’t smell something you should be able to smell it without a mask, the seal is working).

Due to the range in size, shape, and length of ear loops, not every model of respirator fits every face.

Stephen Hope Cann, a specialist in infectious disease prevention at the University of British Columbia, said, “I don’t believe there are any trials to compare which is better, but the more important aspect is that there is a better one around the nose and mouth.” seals it.” , told via email.

“The KN95 is more shaped like a bird’s beak versus the KF94 being a bit flatter.”

Brian Fleck, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta, says that the effectiveness of masking comes down to basic engineering.

“When a filter doesn’t fit very well … the way pressure and airflow works is through the path of least resistance,” Fleck explained over the phone.

“Generally speaking, if air can find a way around the filter, a lot of it will. So, you can have an extremely effective filter material, but if air isn’t forced through it, So it’s not that effective.”

Fleck notes that a good test when wearing a mask is to wear a pair of goggles — if they come on while breathing in or out, the mask isn’t forming a proper seal.

“People who want to be safe, in other words, want to reduce the number of particles they breathe in, should really pay attention to how their mask fits over their face,” he said. That said, keeping this in mind goes for both medical-grade masks and cloth masks.

“Find the mask where no matter what you do the elastics are tight and it’s not letting any air out around the edges. Otherwise, you’re really just wearing it for the optics.

Hope Can says it should be noted that many masks that are sold as KN95 or KF94, when tested, fail to meet their advertised filtration efficacy.

Health Canada, the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide authorized products as well as information about products found to be insufficient.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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