OT: How to find N95 masks


**How to Find a Quality Mask (and Avoid Counterfeits)**

**Knowing which mask to pick and making sure it’s not a fake requires the sleuthing skills of a forensic investigator. Our guide can help.**
**By Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Jan. 14, 2022**

**The C.D.C. has a guide for spotting fake N95s.**
**3M has a dedicated spot on its website to help consumers spot fake masks.**
**Your N95 should be stamped with “NIOSH,” as well as the company name, the model and lot numbers, and something called a “TC approval” number, which can be used to look up the mask on a list of approved ones.**

**A legitimate KN95 should also be stamped with text, including the name of the manufacturer, the model, and “GB2626-2019,” which is a reference to a quality control standard approved by the Chinese government.**

**The Korean KF94 won’t be stamped with text, but the package should say “Made in Korea” and include the product name, manufacturer and distributor name. The package will also have an expiration date and a lot number printed on it. (Masks that carry an electrostatic charge all have expiration dates.)**
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I have a couple of boxes of surgical masks from Costco. I guess I should get some N95s since the Covid rate in my county has soared to over 2,000 per 100,000 which is 10 times what it was last summer.

Are you’all wearing N-95 masks? Where are you buying them?


Are you all wearing N-95 masks? Where are you buying them?


  1. ‘Carrying’ a mask, in case anyone gets upset when we walk in a store, restaurant, etc.
  2. Virtually all employees are wearing in stores.
  3. <<<Less than 50% of customers use masks.
  4. N95? Only see those in medical facilities. Mandatory. (At least I THINK they’re “N95”)
  5. SoCal is WAY done with masks.
  6. If the pandemic were but a tenth of what’s been proffered WORLDWIDE, the human race is OVER.
  7. When the current ‘surge’ is over, there will be yet ANOTHER impending death defying discovery.

(Can epidemics of common colds, hang nails, and bunions be far behind???)

FWIW: N95 masks seem to be readily available in SoCal; haven’t kept track of the ‘where’.

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Yes, we’re starting to wear the N95’s. We’ve been wearing KN95’s and some of the other, less protective ones but with all the stuff going on lately we’re converting.

Just got 100 of them from Costco (for $150). They’re NIOSH certified and everything.

I just looked on Costco’s web site for a link to them that I could post here but it says they are sold out / not available. Bummer…

We had been using KN95, but the last purchase we tried KF94 because of hearing that KF94 made in Korea were the least likely to be counterfeit. We got them from Amazon. I am liking them since the fold with the nose piece flat instead of folded like our KN95s and the result is a thinner package that slips into a shirt pocket more easily. The fold pattern also results in a more well-defined chamber in front of the mouth, which is more comfortable for us bearded types.


good place for masks

3m n95’s at Amazon.

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What I don’t see repeated anywhere, is a piece that ran once on the local news, giving the relative protection for a cloth mask, vs an N95, against an unmasked person less than six feet away. Cloth mask 20 minutes. N95, some number of hours.

I also keep in mind that commercially available masks are made to make a profit. When I was making my own, I laid two layers of fabric, and looked through it. Could see light between the threads. Added a third layer. Could still see light. Added a forth layer. Ah!

When I go grocery shopping, I speed shop. Never near anyone for anything like 20 minutes. The bachelor chow has been moved to the back of the store, so I head through empty aisles in the general merchandise section to get there. Scoop the bachelor chow into the cart, and jet to the checkout. The carts in the line keep offending people at a safe distance. Stopped at Office Max the other day, and stopped dead in my tracks as I was going past the checkout: woman with two spawn, all unmasked, dawdling. Waited for them to get out the door, then jetted through their exhaust plume.

Steve…yes. I hold my breath when walking past people.


To be effective at all, a proper fit and seal are musts when putting on and wearing N95 respirators/masks.

My daughter is a clinical RN at a medical research center, which treats and cares for cancer patients, where healthcare providers must be trained and pass a fit test before using any surgical N95 respirator. She told me that makes vary, i.e. one may pass for some persons, but fail for others. Some of her colleagues cannot be properly fitted at all and must suit up with a higher level of protection. She normally wears a surgical mask on her shift, but in some cases, has to put on a N95 respirator. Recently, several of her patients had both cancer and COVID-19.

If you are using or intend to buy a N95 mask, here’s a must see video:
N95 Mask - How to Wear | N95 Respirator Nursing Skill Tutorial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-uD8rUwG48t b
CDC guidance: How to Properly Put on and Take off a Disposable Respirator

My daughter also told me that almost all of the people she has seen wearing N95 masks in public places (e.g., Costco, shopping centers) have improperly put on their masks, i.e., mask too low over the nose, masks not fully fitted under the chin, mask straps crossing each other, mask too loose over the face and not fully sealed. Unknowingly, they’re wasting their money.

If available, I suggest first buying the smallest packet of N95 respirators by one or two makers to test for proper fit and seal.

(multi-tasking, watching Buffalo QB Josh Allen & company “slicing and dicing” New England 27-3 at half-time)


Are you’all wearing N-95 masks?

We are not. We have doubled up on masks, using a surgical mask under a well fitting cloth mask. About the only time I am around other people inside is grocery shopping, where for the most part 6’ apart is not that big a problem.

We play pickleball outside only these days, which is a tough concession given the recent snow falls and sub 45F temps, when the balls tend to crack and ruined. DH and I have decided to play only on each other’s team, against others, because it’s hard to stay 6’ apart on the courts unless you want them to send the ball down the middle. We are using this as an opportunity to work on our teamwork for the Spring tournaments, which tend to be outdoors.

Using the extra free time to do some projects around the home that have been begging to get done for a while now. DH and I have “dates” where we crack open a bottle of wine and cook together, an alternative to going out to eat where we try to cook something new. Not everything has been a success, but it has been fun.

finding it increasingly hard to trust messaging that changes seemingly on whims

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