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Some masks have an extra valve that could do more harm than good.

These N95 Masks Can Be More Dangerous Than Others

Gettyimages | Xinzheng
By Emily Reily
Giphy | Fleecefun

There's an N95 mask out there that may be sending out germs to others without you realizing it. Fox News reports that it may be due to the N95 masks with the respirator on the front.

Fox News writes that the San Francisco Department of Public Health sent out a tweet on Monday to residents to remind them about the N95 type of mask that has a valve that sticks out. If you're using that mask (though it's more meant for those on the front lines), then you should make sure the valve part is covered up.

“Still seeing a lot of these masks out there, it's confusing, because they are called N95 — but the ones with the valves or openings on the front are NOT safe, and may actually propel your germs further!" the department tweeted.

N95 has been one of the more trusted types out there to protect against coronavirus.
Gettyimages | Liliboas

Word of this valve and the problems it could create spread on social media.

Brenton, @appsforartists, tweeted:

"N95 masks that are designed for medical environments don't have a valve on the front. The one you bought on Amazon probably does.

Thanks for the tip @TAragonMD. I made a graphic to make it easier for people to understand."

The graphic points out the N95 masks that have the extra valve, and compared it with the blue N95 masks that are made by 3M. The graphic includes the words: "This valve lets germs escape. If your mask has one, cover the holes with tape."

Word Of Mouth

There are many different masks out there.
Wikimedia |

People started to reply to the tweet by saying what mask they use, and how they modify it to stay updated with the most recent news.

@CovertCaliforn1 tweeted:

"These masks are designed for 30 minutes of use, maximum. The current guidelines are absurd, unhygenic, bizarre, and quite dangerous. They don't take in account COPD or asthma, and can genuinely cause harm."

@td_elk said:

"My cloth masks have a valve BUT only on it's outside layer, not it's inside cloth layer OR it's disposable 2.5pm filters that place in between the 2 layers. I can barely breath in this mask and I'm waiting for the day Karen decides to lecture me about the valve."

Use Whatever Works

@MGDauchot wrote: "I put a cotton ball inside the exterior enclosure of the valve to prevent if from opening."

"I thought those holes are what let the air flow in. If you cover the holes with tape, can you still breathe?" asked @LookAtMyRatings.

@blushing_roses answered: "The air is filtered through the entirety of the mask. The vent lets air out (when you exhale or cough)."

@EricKorotki tweeted a picture of the mask he uses, which looks like one of those masks you use when you're spraypainting a house.

"This is what I use. This has two 1-way check valves. I am protected and can breathe easily. If everyone is wearing a mask then no need to worry about check valves!"

For God's Sake, Follow the Instructions


People are using whatever masks they can get their hands on, whether it's homemade, a mail-order mask, a bandana or a bra.

Given that the coronavirus pandemic is still a rapidly changing situation, it's worth it to check in when you can to see if your method of protection is still keeping you safe. And make sure you're wearing that thing properly, too.

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