Stock up on KN95s: These FDA-approved masks are less than $2 a pop at Amazon

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These high quality masks are currently only priced at $ 2.50 each. (Photo: Amazon)
Masks are still important to keep the coronavirus from spreading. However, it is difficult to know which masks are most effective.
We're not talking about the cute cloth masks decorated with your favorite band's name. These are KN95 masks - the masks that the CDC expressly recommends to wear in high risk situations (e.g. on public transport) to protect them from possible transmission. Powecom is one of the few FDA-recommended brands of KN95 mask and is on sale on Amazon for $ 17 (down from $ 19) for $ 10.
And of course, if you have Amazon Prime, you get free shipping. Not a member yet? No problem. Here you can register for your free 30-day trial version. (By the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders over $ 25.)
Shop for one: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $ 17 (up from $ 19), amazon.com
"N95s?" you ask. Close, but not exactly. N-95 masks are the next level up in the KN95 masks, but should still be reserved for healthcare workers. That is why buying KN95 masks is the smart move.
Is the brand important? Yes, according to the FDA, it does. Read more about this below.
Basics of the N95 / KN95 connection
A face mask that is both comfortable and FDA approved. (Photo: Amazon)
KN95 masks are very similar to N-95 masks, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University's medical school, told Yahoo Life. In the early days of the pandemic, when medical masks were particularly scarce, the FDA issued what was known as an "emergency clearance" for KN95 masks - meaning they can be used in hospitals.
But not all brands of KN95 masks are created equal. Recently, the FDA revoked emergency approvals for several manufacturers of KN95 masks after an efficacy investigation. Powecom masks passed the tests. They are FDA cleared and officially listed on the FDA Emergency Approval List. As with the others on the list, the Powecom KN95 mask is confirmed to filter out 95 percent or more of the particles.
Shop for one: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $ 17 (up from $ 19), amazon.com
Not sure where to look? "If your source for a KN95 mask is reliable, you should be fine," explains Dr. Conductor. The good ones are “comparable to the N95 masks we use,” he says.
"The fundamental difference [between N95 and KN95 masks] is regulatory," says Dr. Kavita Patel, Director of Clinical Transformation at the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution. "KN95 masks are approved by Chinese regulators and are theoretically similar to the N95 masks that are FDA approved - but are likely made in China as well."
Do you have to wear a Powecom KN95 mask all the time?
Powecom KN95 masks are available now. (Photo: Amazon)
Our experts tell Yahoo Life that triple-layer disposable masks or cloth masks should do the job when you're at least three feet away from others. However, Powecom's KN95 masks offer more protection and protect in riskier situations - for example when you are flying or taking a bus or train.
These masks have a three-dimensional design that makes it easier to breathe when you have to wear your mask for an extended period of time. The soft cotton masks have elastic ear loops and a metal piece for a comfortable fit over the nose.
Remember, wearing a mask doesn't mean you should stop practicing known methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and frequent, thorough hand washing are crucial. Dr. Schaffner explains: "We do these things in combination, not in isolation."
KN95 masks that are FDA approved for emergency use are hard to find these days. So stick to best practices - and secure some Powecom KN95 masks for higher risk settings. You will take very good care of yourself and others.
Shop it up: Powecom KN95 Masks (pack of 10), $ 17 (down from $ 19), amazon.com
Amazon buyers love them too
Get a set for just $ 14. (Photo: Amazon)
The masks have garnered over 9,000 five-star reviews from Amazon buyers.
A hardworking buyer personally checked the effectiveness of the masks, writing:
"These masks passed all three effectiveness tests. I took the water test and it didn't leak. I blew out the candle test and I couldn't blow out the flame. Last time I did the light test. I held the mask up to the light, and the mask was of uniform thickness, not stained. According to the CDC, having a mask pass these tests is effective. I also feel that there is a good seal around the edges of the mask. It's more comfortable than an N95. I can wear this mask to work all day. "
Another shared, "I was in a car with someone I didn't know was COVID positive (family emergency) for 3 hours at the time," she writes. "I wore this mask and he wore a typical, thinner blue mask. He had been exposed a few days earlier and tested positive a few days later. All of my tests were negative."
Even teachers swear by them:
"When we became a hot COVID zone, I got this for my job as a teacher," said one. "These are literally the only masks that don't fall off when I speak or when I muffle my voice."
Shop for one: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $ 17 (up from $ 19), amazon.com
Would you like to review your options? Here are other excellent KN95 masks available on Amazon:
SupplyAID KN95 masks, pack of 5
SupplyAID KN95 masks, pack of 5 (Photo: Amazon)
These three-dimensional versions are thick and durable, and you can get five for just $ 14.
"I feel a lot safer with it than with a simple cloth mask," says one buyer. “My intended purpose was to only wear these when I go shopping and run other errands that I know I'll be in close proximity to other people, but I've found that I wear them everywhere. Happy with this purchase. "
Shop it: SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-Pack, $ 17, amazon.com
N95 Mask Co. KN95 face mask, pack of 50
N95 Mask Co. KN95 face mask, pack of 50 (Photo: N95 Mask Co.)
Do you want to buy in bulk and remove the stress of replenishing? This 50 pack is for you. Each mask has a spacious breathing area, a metal nose bridge for a comfortable fit, and pleats for easy storage.
“Tested masks in heavy smoke from CA fires - they don't smell smoke which is a great test as smoke is the smallest particle and only N95 will work for it. At the same time, they allow easy breathing, ”says a satisfied buyer.
Shop it at: N95 Mask Co. KN95 Face Mask, 50 Pack, $ 130 (was $ 150), n95maskco.com
The reviews cited above reflect the latest versions at the time of publication.
Read more from Yahoo Life:
Amazon buyers pick up these AccuMed face masks - they cost just $ 26 for 10
These FDA approved KN95 masks are actually recyclable
"Best Mask Out There": Honeywell's newest face cover is back on Amazon - and is on sale
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