The Right Mask Reduces Risk

It is now clear that COVID is spread mainly by aerosols, small particles that are emitted when you speak or even through breathing. We also know that the Omicron variant is extremely easy to catch and will exploit any weakness in your defences. Hence the extreme importance of wearing a high quality mask that fits well any time you are indoors with others outside your household.

Any style of mask that doesn't fit snugly – i.e. that allows air to go in and out around your nose or the side of your face – provides very little protection, according to most experts. Make sure that your mask, or your child's mask, fits properly.

The quality of the mask is also very important. Your best protection could come from a N95, KN95 and KF94 respirator mask – if you're sure you're not buying a fake or one that doesn't meet Health Canada standards.

Here are some tips to help avoid counterfeit or unregulated masks.

Government of Canada-approved N95 respirators should bear a NIOSH approval label and an approval number that can be validated in the NIOSH database. To verify a N95 respirator’s approval number, enter it into the database here.

Packaging for approved KM95 respirators — the Chinese equivalent to the U.S. standard N95 — should indicate the respirators meet standard GB 2626-2019, while KF94 respirators — the Korean equivalent — should meet standard KMOEL–2017-64. Do not use N95, KN95 or KF94 respirators or medical masks if the packaging contains spelling mistakes or misprints, or if the masks are decorated in any way, as those are often signs a mask is counterfeit.

If your mask is fraudulent or unauthorized, stop using it and replace it with a mask authorized for use in Canada.