Wednesday/ upgrading to an N95: not so easy

I bought a box of N95 masks on Amazon to use (instead of my cotton cloth masks— that are apparently no longer cutting it against the Omicron variant).

The N95 masks are more difficult to put on than ones with ear loops .. and then there is the question of how many times they can be used before they should be discarded. (They cannot be washed in the washing machine).

The short answer: it depends. If the mask was used in a crowded place, or for a long time (say, 4 to 8 hours), it should probably be discarded.

There are a lot of fake N95 masks out there. I bought mine on Amazon; the brand is from US industrial giant Honeywell, but the box they came in confirms that the masks were made in China (by the Honeywell subsidiary there). Are they fake/ substandard? Who knows. Like a reviewer on Amazon says: ‘Everything’s made in China – get over it’. Sigh.
[Infographic by John Blanchard for The San Francisco Chronicle]

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