Covid-19: Which face masks are available in NZ and which are the most effective?


Since the Covid-19 epidemic, Kiwis has been encouraged to do so wear masks to stop the spread of the virus.

Masks can prevent small particles from coming out of a person with the virus, which can act as dots or spots. small aerosols.

But which eye masks are available in New Zealand, and which ones provide the best protection?

Several masks sold in New Zealand are labeled KN95, N95 or P2. This is often in line with how the respirator is being monitored, a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

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Masks for KN95 and N95

Unlike P2 or N95 brushes, most KN95 masks are made with earrings, not headbands.

KN95 shell with ear plugs.

Markus Winkler / Unsplash

KN95 shell with ear plugs.

The New Zealand Occupational Hygiene Society said that precautionary measures should be taken when purchasing a vacuum cleaner with earplugs, as tests have shown that it can be difficult to get enough.

Finley Biss, a spokesman for Esko, a company that supplies respiratory equipment, said the KN95s were able to prove themselves with the factory that designed them.

However, N95 and P2 masks had to be verified by a “factory-independent person”, which makes them a “very safe bet”.

KN95 breathing masks are made from five filters, and they use a mechanical filter to block up to 95 percent of the malignant material – hence ’95’ in its name.

N95s can also block up to 95 percent of microscopic particles.

Surgical masks

N95 respiratory mask on the left, and a surgical mask on the right.

David Alexander / Things

N95 respiratory mask on the left, and a surgical mask on the right.

Surgical masks, meanwhile, have not been developed to protect against severe respiratory infections like Covid-19, Biss said.

They are designed to protect the patient in the hospital, for example, if the doctor sneezes while leaning against an open wound e.g.

“Surgical masks often have large openings around, where the virus can pass through the mask.”

A study by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States showed that a surgical mask filtered 38.5 percent of the tiny particles.

P2 masks

P2 masks, on the other hand, did not mention their filter level in their name, but were very similar to the N95. The filter rate was 94.5 percent, “so on paper, the three are the same,” Biss said.

“While N95 is recommended by medical professionals rather than P2, there is little difference in their ability to protect – especially since P2 is traditionally the industrial standard, while N95 is medical, so medical services are well known.

“For most street buyers, P2 is readily available and can be purchased at most hardware & DIY stores at affordable prices.”

Biss said the 20 packets of N95 masks are usually the same or cheaper than the KN95, which sells for between $ 5 and $ 10 each.

They were also “part of the price” of fabric masks.

“Just because a price is higher does not mean you are getting better security.”

Fabric masks

Fabric masks are popular, but there is no guarantee of their filtration rate.  (image file)

Bara Buri / unsplash

Fabric masks are popular, but there is no guarantee of their filtration rate. (image file)

Experts say fabric masks should be the last resort.

“Fabric masks often have no guarantee of filtering quality,” Biss said, making it difficult to determine if they offer protection.

“They look beautiful, so it is understandable that people want to wear them, but they are dangerous.

Biss said it is also important to clean cotton masks after use to prevent harmful bacteria.

“As an indication, the EPA study on various fabric masks found various protection, down to 26.5%.

“Interestingly the lowest-primed shell was a black cotton cloth with loops in the ears (3 layer), which is the most popular style in New Zealand.”

Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, senior researcher in public health at the University of Otago, said it was important to make sure masks were filtered properly.

“Any cloth without a good layer doesn’t work,” he said.

“If we can, we should be developing a better filter, especially a respirator (P2 / N95 / KN95 / KN94), or if not, a surgical mask.”

Telfar Barnard said there is an “urgent need to do better now”, in the past Omicron stopped isolating himself and home.

“That means each of us is looking at how to change the way we wear masks here.

“Masks reduce the chances of catching [the] self-inflicted, thus reducing the chance of infecting others, and if we infect or touch them, small things can mean less trouble. ”


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