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KN95 Use and Care

September 23, 2021

What is a KN95?

 KN95 masks reduce the amount of dust or virus particles a person breathes in by approximately 95 percent.

How do I obtain a KN95? 

Complimentary KN95 masks are being made available to students, faculty and staff. Although we have supplemented our initial order of 50,000 masks with an additional 20,000 masks, we ask that community members limit requests to one per person, so we can assure that everyone who wants a mask is able to get one. 4Maryland has information about mask distribution but please feel free to provide your own. They are readily available online and in many local retailers. KN95s, while disposable, are designed to be worn multiple times safely.

How do I properly use my KN95?

  • If possible, wash or sanitize your hands immediately before and after putting your KN95 on and immediately before and after taking it off when planning to reuse it.
  • Place the mask over your face, with the bottom below your chin and the nosepiece up.
  • Place the straps of the mask over each of your ears.
  • Adjust the metal nose clip using fingers from both hands to mold the clip to the shape of your nose
  • Adjust fit as necessary to reduce air flow around the mask.
  • Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. Masks that fit well protect you better. To have a better fit, people with beards can shave their beards or trim their beards close to the face.
  • If you wear glasses and find fogging to be a nuisance, wash the lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess before putting on your mask (wipe off nose piece to minimize skin irritation).

How should I care for and store my KN95

Please DO NOT attempt to wash your KN95. With proper care, your KN95 should be reusable for an extended period of time.
 
To keep your KN95 clean between uses, store your mask in a safe location that other people cannot access and where it will not get wet or be subject to direct sunlight or excessive heat. A dry paper bag works well for storing your KN95.

When should I discard my KN95?

You should replace your KN95 when it:

  • Becomes soiled
  • No longer covers the nose and mouth
  • Has stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Has holes or tears in the fabric

A KN95 may be disposed of in the normal trash.

Why use a KN95 instead of a cloth or surgical face mask? 

While many face masks help prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others, they provide limited protection to the wearer. A KN95 provides better protection for the wearer than other face masks, while also reducing the spread of the virus from the wearer.

Will a KN95 protect me during an exposure to COVID-19?

 If you are exposed to the virus while wearing a KN95, you are less likely to develop COVID-19. In addition, you likely will have less-restrictive self-isolation or quarantine requirements than a person wearing a cloth or surgical mask.

How is a KN95 different from an N95?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not consider a KN95 mask a negative-pressure respirator since it has not been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Therefore, OSHA does not require a person be “fit tested” to wear a KN95. Since a person is not fit tested for a KN95, they should not use a KN95 in situations where a fit-tested N95 mask is required (for example, in clinical areas or for certain medical procedures).

Why use a KN95 instead of an N95?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that N95s be reserved for use by health care providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What other actions should I take if I wear a KN95?

Even if you wear a KN95, you should still: 

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already done so. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family, friends, classmates, and co-workers from COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and call the UMD Heal Line.
  • Practice physical distancing when feasible.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
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