HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, guidelines to keep you safe and healthy are ever-changing, including guidance on which mask you need to wear.
“You have to think of the mask-like a filter, just like you have those filters for your air conditioner at home, they have different abilities to filter out particles the same thing goes for the masks.”
Cameron County Health Authority, Dr. James Castillo, says different layers offer different levels of protection.
As cases across the RGV spike and omicron surges, Castillo suggests double masking or leveling up from a cloth or disposable mask to an N95 or KN95.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns as many as 60% of KN95 masks are counterfeit. When getting yours – check for the N.I.O.S.H. stamp, which means it’s certified by the national institute for occupational safety and health.
Health leaders say surgical masks can protect you more than cloth masks. Ultimately, Castillo says the key is the fit, make sure your masks are snug.
“The difference is that Omicron has become a lot more contagious,” Castillo said. “Less of the virus is needed to cause an infection and people who are infected are putting a lot more of the virus. So, we need to use the tools we have available to try and slow it down and still go on with our daily lives.”