Face Masks
Upgrade your mask: Good fit and filtration continue to be the best way to get the most out of your mask. The best masks for preventing COVID-19 include the N95, KN95 and KF94. If you don’t have access to one of these masks, wear a surgical mask or a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top. If you choose a fabric mask, opt for one with three of more cloth layers. No matter what kind of mask you wear, check the fit by avoiding gaps above the nose or on the sides.

> When You Need to Wear a Mask

Learn More About Upgraded Masks

Disposable Respirators

  • N95 and KN95 respirators are designed to filter at least 95% of airborne particles (KF94s are designed to filter 94%). For some, these masks may take getting used to, as they fit more snugly and have more layers of material.
  • They may not fit well if you have facial hair.
  • To work well, respirators need to make a tight seal on your face. See NIOSH instructions for how to put on, take off and check the seal of a respirator.
  • Check the seal each time you put one on.
  • If you have breathing difficulties, check with your doctor before wearing a respirator.
  • Do not wear a respirator with another mask

If choosing a KN95 respirator, use one that has been tested by NPPTL or offers filtration efficiency of 95% or higher.

Beware of counterfeit (fake) respirators as they may not be able to provide the promised protection.

Medical/Surgical Masks

  • Medical grade face coverings (including surgical masks) are also called medical procedure, dental masks or disposable masks. Some surgical masks intended for medical use are regulated by the FDA.
  • Use masks with a nose wire and at least three layers of non-woven material (melt-blown fabric and/or polypropylene).
  • Medical masks should be resistant to fluids. Test your mask with a drop of water on the front. The water should not soak into the mask. It should form beads of water on the surface.
  • Double masking with a medical mask UNDER a tight-fitting cloth mask will greatly increase filtration and reduce leakage.
  • The fit can be improved simply by knotting the ear loops close to the edge of the mask and tucking the excess material. You can also use a mask brace, to reduce air leakage from the edges of the mask.

Find free masks (N95 respirators) at a participating location near you.

The Evidence for Face Masks:

Science Brief: Community Use of Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2

Recent data indicates that covering your nose and mouth can slow the spread of COVID-19 because:

Videos on Face Masks: