With cases surging from the delta variant, doctors urge Hawaii residents to get back to mask-wearing basics

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:12 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As cases in Hawaii surge because of the contagious delta variant, doctors are urging people to wear fitted masks and to wear them properly.

Dr. Jason Ching is a pediatric dentist with Aiden Health and says parents are worried about how to protect their kids.

“We see all different types of masks, cloth masks, kiddie masks, N95, KN95s,” he said.

From the most protective filtering to the least, it starts with N95 masks used in medical settings, followed by KN95 and KF94 masks, then surgical masks followed by cloth masks.

Ching says every face is different so it’s important that the mask is fitted with no gaps.

“I tell them it’s your choice. There’s different levels of protection. We are not in every household and with kids, they have to be comfortable,” said Ching.

He says even the same model of mask might not fit as well depending on the person.

He says a standard surgical mask is practical in most settings.

“These are really good and protective, a little less protective than the KN95s, but it has a nice elastic seal here and no spaces. This to me is more practical for kids or teenagers than a KN95,” he said.

Medical experts say another thing you can do is see if sunlight can shine through the mask. If you see holes in the fabric, that’s a less effective mask.

“The best type of mask is the one you are going to use,” said Dr. Darragh O’Carroll, emergency room physician.

He suggests wearing a N95 or KN95 mask for areas with poor ventilation and closed windows, bars, restaurants, large gatherings and traveling.

“If you can tolerate the N95, I would use that if you are only there for 30 minutes to an hour. Next step would be KN95. That’s actually the one I use when I’m traveling or going anywhere,” said O’Carroll.

Experts say neck gaiters don’t provide a lot of filtration unless you start to layer them. They also say you can doubling up on mask does provide more layers.

As for those masks with valves, O’Carroll says they protect you, but not those around you and one mask is definitely ineffective.

“They are plastic that covers yourself and lets air come all the way out. Those are no help to anybody or yourself,” he said.

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