HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, guidelines to keep you safe and healthy are constantly changing, including guidance on what mask you should wear.
“You have to think of the mask as a filter, just like you have these filters for your air conditioner at home, they have different abilities to filter out particles, so do masks.”
Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo says different layers provide different levels of protection.
As a case through the RGV spike and omicron surges, Castillo suggests double masking or upgrading from a cloth or disposable mask to an N95 or KN95.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns that up to 60% of KN95 masks are counterfeit. When getting yours, check for the NIOSH stamp, which means it’s certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Health officials say surgical masks can protect you more than cloth masks. Ultimately, Castillo says the key is fit, make sure your masks fit properly.
“The difference is that Omicron has become much more contagious,” Castillo said. “It takes less virus to cause an infection and infected people put a lot more virus. So we have to use the tools we have to try to slow it down and get on with our daily lives.
Project N95 is a nonprofit that offers resources you might need, as well as a quick guide to which mask is best for you.