Free N95 masks are now available in many pharmacies.
The federal government is shipping 400 million N95 masks to outlets that were previously approved as vaccine sites. These include most Walgreens and CVS pharmacies. You can find a list of participating stores at:
Many stores will have a sign inside that tells you if masks are available, or you may need to ask at the checkout counter. Each individual is entitled to up to 3 free masks. No other purchase is required,
What is the N95 / KN95 Mask?
An N95 mask, also called an N95 Respirator, “is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles,” says the FDA.” The edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical N95 Respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings.”
N95 masks are regulated and certified by National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). You can find a lengthy list of approved masks at: NIOSH Approved Masks.
An alternative to an N95 mask is a KN95 mask. Like the N95, the KN95 mask filters out 95% of all air particles, but KN95 masks do not have to meet the strict pressure drop requirements in the N95 standard. Although the KN95 mask is generally considered less effective than a certified N95 mask, it is still much more effective than a cloth or paper mask, experts say. Some people will find the KN95 mask more comfortable. Most KN95 masks have ear loops, while the N95 has head straps.
“KN95 masks are a type of filtering facepiece respirator that are commonly made and used in China. KN95 masks may be preferable in some situations or for some people” says the CDC.
Where To Buy N95 / KN95 Masks
The video from CNN below demonstrates the N95 mask and tells how to tell genuine certified masks from counterfeits.