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In wake of omicron, some health experts recommend upgrading your masks

Current CDC mask guidelines for the general public don't include N95s and KN95s, but that could change. A local doctor told 13News Now you should upgrade now.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — With community spread and test positivity rates of COVID-19 soaring, some health experts are saying that you should "up" your mask game.

According to The Washington Post, an official within the CDC said the federal agency is considering updating its mask guidance for the general public to include N95s and KN95s.

Dr. Elizabeth Broderick, a pediatrician in Newport News, explained that if you're going to be in an indoor public place in the next four to six weeks, wearing a medical-grade mask — like a KN95 or N95 — is the better option.

"Because we know that they fit your face more closely. There's less gapping and therefore, they're going to filter the air you're inhaling and exhaling more effectively," said Broderick. 

She told 13News Now that the N95 she wears at work is from Home Depot and made in the U.S.

RELATED: These are the masks you need to wear against omicron

Broderick also said that there are also NIOSH-certified options on sites like Amazon or Project N95.

KN95s are varieties of the medical-grade mask that meet standards in China.

KF94s are the Korean equivalent.

They're meant to filter 95 and 94 percent of particles, respectively.

"Because the omicron variant is so much more contagious than any other variant we've had and we're having a lot of breakthrough cases in our vaccinated patients, I think the extra layer of protection is a good idea for everyone," Broderick added.

She also said you can reuse your KN95 or N95 once if it's not used in a health care setting.

To keep it clean and dry, store it in a brown paper lunch bag after running errands, work or school. Let the mask sit for 24 to 48 hours before using it again.

RELATED: Yes, you can clean and reuse your KN95 or N95 mask using a brown paper bag

You can also try improving the fit of the masks you already have.

Broderick does point out cloth varieties let through more particles.

However, with so much talk about which mask is best at this time, she hopes that the message of wearing a mask and wearing one properly in the first place isn't lost on people.

"We can all work as a team. We can get vaccinated, get boosted, wear our mask and be careful with each other, be kind with each other," Broderick added. 

RELATED: Face masks in high demand as omicron fuels rising COVID-19 cases

Virginia Department of Health also offered 13News Now a statement and resources about masking on Wednesday:

"Proper masking tips are available on the VDH website. The most important factors are fit and filtration when it comes to protection against COVID-19. We are waiting for further guidance from CDC but our understanding is that they have not updated their mask guidance. These websites, from both VDH and the CDC, provide some helpful information about mask use during the pandemic. 

Mask requirements and recommendations (VDH)


Proper masking tips (VDH)


Your Guide to Masks (CDC)