December 7, 2023

As interest in KN95 masks rises, prices on some brands are going up. KING 5 spoke with medical and consumer experts about what the public should keep in mind.

SEATTLE — With high rates of omicron transmission, some doctors are recommending that people switch to higher-grade masks. 

That also means navigating how masks are different, which masks to choose, and how to find masks that work effectively but are still affordable.

“We’re trying to get people away from a simple cloth mask or these bandanas that we see,” said Dr. Francis Riedo, EvergreenHealth Medical director of infection control and prevention. “They’re just not extremely effective, both for preventing transmission or preventing you from getting infected. A multiple-layer cloth mask is a little better, but really you should move up to the next level, whether it’s a surgical or procedural mask, or if you can find it, a KN95, or ideally or optimally a fit-tested N95. That’s a procedure mostly limited to health care workers, but if you’re in a situation that you can accomplish that, that’s what you should do.”

What’s the difference between cloth, KN95 and N95 masks?

Riedo described the differences in types of masks that impact how they work and what they’re able to filter out.

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