CDC. Mask Policy Updates

This week the CDC updated its guidelines for masks and respirators. We have summarized the updates, information, and recommendations below. However, we realize that sometimes too much information can make selecting the appropriate protection confusing. Legacy Medical Sales is always available to help you decide which is more appropriate for you, we provide a variety of masks and respirators available to healthcare workers as well as for the general public. 

Masks are made to contain droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out. If they fit closely to the face, they can also provide you some protection from particles spread by others, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Cloth Mask Recommendations- Use a multi-layered dark colored fabric with a nose wire. Ensure that the mask has a proper fit to avoid leaks. A cloth face covering has 75% inward and outward leakage. 

Disposable Procedure Mask Recommendations- Masks should be made of a multiple layered non-woven material. Sometimes referred to as a surgical mask, it should ensure a proper fit with a nose wire. 

Respirators are made to protect you by filtering the air and fitting closely on the face to filter out particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19. They can also contain droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out so you do not spread them to others. 

Examples of situations that would warrant the use of a respirator:

  • While caring for someone who is ill with Covid-19
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised
  • While traveling using public transportation 

Always read the manufacturer instructions, these instructions should include information on how to wear, store, and clean or properly dispose of the respirator. It is important for respirators to form a seal to the face to work properly choosing the wrong size or type of respirator or when a respirator is worn with facial hair will make it ineffective. 

Click here for instructions on how to properly put on and take off a disposable respirator

N95 Masks– N95s are more widely available now than they were earlier in the pandemic. N95 masks are approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). Properly fitted N95 respirators can filter up to 95% of particles in the air. The US tests, certifies and regulates the N95s. Check here for a list of NIOSH¬† approved N95 respirators. These masks should have a cup, flat fold or duck bill shape; two straps that go around your head; an adjustable wire nose bridge; and appropriate markings indicating NIOSH approval, the CDC says. If you see an N95 as marketed for children, that should raise a red flag. Specially labeled “surgical” N95s “should be reserved for use by healthcare personnel,”. If you are in a medical setting you should be changing your N95 to avoid cross contamination between patients. For someone in the general public you can reuse your N95, unless you were near someone who is infected with coronavirus.

KN95– Manufacturers in China test KN95s, meaning they may meet the standards, but they’re not certified to meet it. If using one make sure that it has the (Chinese government) standard written on the side of the mask. Those Chinese government standards on KN95s should say GB 2626-2019 or GB 2626-2006. 

Alternative Masks/ Special Circumstances– Clear or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel can be used as an alternative for certain situations including:

  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Young children or students learning to read
  • Students learning a new language
  • Those with disabilities

Whatever product you choose, it should provide a good fit (i.e., fitting closely on the face without any gaps along the edges or around the nose) and be comfortable enough when worn properly (covering your nose and mouth) so that you can keep it on when you need to. Legacy Medical Sales provides various types of masks from antimicrobial cloth to NIOSH approved surgical masks. Check out our selection here: Need help deciding which mask is right for you? We have you covered, contact a sales representative at info@legacymedicalsales or 717.978.1400.