SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The omicron surge across the country has led to new masking guidelines from the CDC.
The CDC is now recommending N95 and KN95 masks but how do you know if the ones you have are legitimate?
If you’re ordering masks online or from third-party sellers, it can be hard to tell if they’re fake. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a list of mask models that are legit.
“The best way to know if your respirator is legit is to actually go to the NIOSH website and look up your model number and see if it is listed on the approved list,” Tiffany Peterson, Director of Infection Prevention for Avera Health, said.
The model number will verify if your masks are real.
“So there will be an approval number that starts with TC, (shows the number on the mask) on this mask there is a TC number,” Peterson said.
If you’re buying masks online, a legit seller will include the proper mask information, correct spelling and photos of the mask.
“You always want to check to see if it tells you what type of mask it is, the size, the approval and that it has the NIOSH on it,” said Kayla Weyh, CMA Lab Manager at Urban Health.
Check the mask for the proper holdings as well.
“There is no N95 in the United States that is NIOSH approved with ear loops,” Peterson said.
Health care providers also want to remind people the difference between surgical and nonsurgical N95 masks.
“These are the ones that are particularly used by health care professionals, so these are the ones that you would want to try not to get. So this will be the ones given out that you can get,” Weyh said.
A true NIOSH mask will never say it’s approved for children and will always come with instructions.
“A legit mask should have some level of instructions for use so if there is no instructions, it is not legitimate,” Peterson said.
You can find free N95 masks at Hy-Vee pharmacies. South Dakota Urban Indian Health is also handing out free masks and COVID-19 tests to everyone who wants them.
For links to see if your mask is real or fake, click here for more information.