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When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears
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COVID Simple questions about masks

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I will be walking in October. I know the differences between a cloth mask, KN95 and N95 masks. I know masks are available everywhere especially in pharmacies. For people who live in Spain or those walking now are N95 masks available? I live in Mexico and only the KN95 masks are available. I would rather have the N95 if possible.
Also what are the costs of masks? Does the cost vary much?
Simple answers are much desired.
Do not want to start any debates, arguments or where to wear a mask.
thanks
 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
Hmm, I haven't seen many N95 masks for sale in Santiago, but I could have missed something. Mostly we see the blue surgical masks and KN95 for sale in pharmacies as well as in grocery stores and other sundry places. The blue ones can cost about 0.50 - 0.75€ each and the KN95 can cost 0.60 to 1€ each, depending on where and how many you buy. Buen Camino!

Edit: clarificaron-- they sell a lot of FFP2 here, which I believe are similar to KN95.
 
Last edited:

towanda1961

Laura
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Invierno (2015)
Hmm, I haven't seen many N95 masks for sale in Santiago, but I could have missed something. Mostly we see the blue surgical masks and KN95 for sale in pharmacies as well as in grocery stores and other sundry places. The blue ones can cost about 0.50 - 0.75€ each and the KN95 can cost 0.60 to 1€ each, depending on where and how many you buy. Buen Camino!

Edit: clarificaron-- they sell a lot of FFP2 here, which I believe are similar to KN95.
Correct. The FFP2 is Spain’s N95, according to my pharmacist. 😷
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I did some checking. Here is the bottom line:

"KN95s are closely related to N95s, but only the latter is approved for use in medical settings in the U.S., and the reasoning is pretty simple: N95s are the U.S. standard, while KN95s are the Chinese standard for these close-fitting filtration devices. Both are rated to filter out 95 percent of very small particles.

Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic, the CDC has authorized the use of KN95 masks as a suitable alternative for N95 masks. However, a number of hospitals and other KN95 wearers have pointed out some discrepancies in quality."


Source of the above: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a35383193/n95-vs-kn95-mask-differences/

It appears that both work nearly as well. Just check the quality of the mask, elastics, moldable nose clip, etc. As the customary mask is intended for single use, and not more than four hours on an airplane, be sure to carry spares.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I did some checking. Here is the bottom line:

"KN95s are closely related to N95s, but only the latter is approved for use in medical settings in the U.S., and the reasoning is pretty simple: N95s are the U.S. standard, while KN95s are the Chinese standard for these close-fitting filtration devices. Both are rated to filter out 95 percent of very small particles.

Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic, the CDC has authorized the use of KN95 masks as a suitable alternative for N95 masks. However, a number of hospitals and other KN95 wearers have pointed out some discrepancies in quality."


Source of the above: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a35383193/n95-vs-kn95-mask-differences/

It appears that both work nearly as well. Just check the quality of the mask, elastics, moldable nose clip, etc. As the customary mask is intended for single use, and not more than four hours on an airplane, be sure to carry spares.

Hope this helps.

Tom
Great minds, I was just checking this out also. Stay safe out there.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
As the customary mask is intended for single use, and not more than four hours on an airplane, be sure to carry spares.
Thanks for all the info. I have been searching for information on how long I can wear either a KN95 or N95 mask and have not found any good source. Where did you get that 4 hour limit? I am not challenging you, just wondering who said it because I know that my friends in healthcare wear their masks all day. They even used to recycle them by heating and some other procedures, but now that the supply is re-established they are throwing them out daily.

I have decided to bring my own supply of N95 masks with me to Spain (thanks again to @trecile for giving me her source!). I will be able to use the space in my backpack that was formerly occupied by my sleeping bag, since I plan to sleep only in private acommodations. ;)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks for all the info. I have been searching for information on how long I can wear either a KN95 or N95 mask and have not found any good source. Where did you get that 4 hour limit? I am not challenging you, just wondering who said it because I know that my friends in healthcare wear their masks all day. They even used to recycle them by heating and some other procedures, but now that the supply is re-established they are throwing them out daily.

I have decided to bring my own supply of N95 masks with me to Spain (thanks again to @trecile for giving me her source!). I will be able to use the space in my backpack that was formerly occupied by my sleeping bag, since I plan to sleep only in private acommodations. ;)
I have been listening to the Osterholm Update podcast for the last 18 months. He is an American epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
On one of the most recent podcast episodes he says that N95 masks offer up to 25 hours of protection, and that they can be reworn many times if they are kept in good condition. Here's the YouTube version of that episode.


I find the KN95 masks with earloops to be more comfortable to wear, and since they are nearly as protective as the N95 mask I feel that they provide enough protection for my use, which is generally no more than a quick grocery shopping trip. The earloops do tend to stretch out when reusing the masks, so I tie a small knot in them to take up the slack and improve the fit. I did wear one for many hours on a short flight with a long delay at the airport recently. Another plus is that they fold flat, making them easier to carry.

As @peregrina2000 nentioned I found a good source for KN95 and N95 masks.

 

danielgzepeda

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2016
I have been listening to the Osterholm Update podcast for the last 18 months. He is an American epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
On one of the most recent podcast episodes he says that N95 masks offer up to 25 hours of protection, and that they can be reworn many times if they are kept in good condition. Here's the YouTube version of that episode.


I find the KN95 masks with earloops to be more comfortable to wear, and since they are nearly as protective as the N95 mask I feel that they provide enough protection for my use, which is generally no more than a quick grocery shopping trip. The earloops do tend to stretch out when reusing the masks, so I tie a small knot in them to take up the slack and improve the fit. I did wear one for many hours on a short flight with a long delay at the airport recently. Another plus is that they fold flat, making them easier to carry.

As @peregrina2000 nentioned I found a good source for KN95 and N95 masks.

Thanks for the info and podcast, Trecile.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have been listening to the Osterholm Update podcast for the last 18 months. He is an American epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
On one of the most recent podcast episodes he says that N95 masks offer up to 25 hours of protection, and that they can be reworn many times if they are kept in good condition. Here's the YouTube version of that episode.


I find the KN95 masks with earloops to be more comfortable to wear, and since they are nearly as protective as the N95 mask I feel that they provide enough protection for my use, which is generally no more than a quick grocery shopping trip. The earloops do tend to stretch out when reusing the masks, so I tie a small knot in them to take up the slack and improve the fit. I did wear one for many hours on a short flight with a long delay at the airport recently. Another plus is that they fold flat, making them easier to carry.

As @peregrina2000 nentioned I found a good source for KN95 and N95 masks.

The KN 95 mask is all we get here in Mexico.
I usually am double masked with a cloth one too. I will watch this thanks.
 
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ELHS220

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2015, 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
Norte - (2019)
I will be walking in October. I know the differences between a cloth mask, KN95 and N95 masks. I know masks are available everywhere especially in pharmacies. For people who live in Spain or those walking now are N95 masks available? I live in Mexico and only the KN95 masks are available. I would rather have the N95 if possible.
Also what are the costs of masks? Does the cost vary much?
Simple answers are much desired.
Do not want to start any debates, arguments or where to wear a mask.
thanks
Can you order from Amazon? Pack of 10 @ $27.50.
 

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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Can you order from Amazon? Pack of 10 @ $27.50.
I live in Mexico so I shop on the Amazon Mexico site. If I buy things from the US site I can pay anywhere from $30 - $90US extra. There are NIOSH N95 masks on sale but they are 5 times more expensive per mask than the KN95 mask. I am fully Pfizer vaccinated and I double mask all the time with a cloth and KN95 mask (the cloth mask I buy in costco that are reusable and washable that still make the N95 masks 3x more expensive. I wonder if it is worth buying them as the KN95 masks are just a little less protective but adding the cloth outer mask I believe doubles my protection. I am not sure if this figure is correct but I know it does give far greater protection.
Thanks for your information I really appreciate the effort.
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2015, 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
Norte - (2019)
I live in Mexico so I shop on the Amazon Mexico site. If I buy things from the US site I can pay anywhere from $30 - $90US extra. There are NIOSH N95 masks on sale but they are 5 times more expensive per mask than the KN95 mask. I am fully Pfizer vaccinated and I double mask all the time with a cloth and KN95 mask (the cloth mask I buy in costco that are reusable and washable that still make the N95 masks 3x more expensive. I wonder if it is worth buying them as the KN95 masks are just a little less protective but adding the cloth outer mask I believe doubles my protection. I am not sure if this figure is correct but I know it does give far greater protection.
Thanks for your information I really appreciate the effort.


I would think that the KN version would be sufficient.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I would think that the KN version would be sufficient.
I agree. According to this NYT article:

Should I double mask with an N95 or KN95?

The N95 mask is the gold standard for medical masks, and the KN95, made in China, is similar. When worn correctly, both masks will filter 95 percent of the hardest-to-trap particles. If you have access to a genuine N95 or KN95 and it fits well, you don’t need to double mask.
 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
I think my first post was wrong. While I do remember finding KN95 previously, now when I buy masks, they're always FFP2 (or the blue surgical ones) because Spain made the decision to stop selling the KN95 masks back in 2020.


Basically, the FFP2 masks meet the safety requirements of the European Community and carry the "CE" mark. The government had approved the sale of KN95 masks temporarily, early in the outbreak, despite those masks not carrying the CE certification. However, by October 1, 2020, they wanted all masks for sale to meet European Community standards.

So travelers to Spain may not find any KN95 masks for sale, but the FFP2s are common and very similar.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Thanks for all the info. I have been searching for information on how long I can wear either a KN95 or N95 mask and have not found any good source. Where did you get that 4 hour limit? I am not challenging you, just wondering who said it because I know that my friends in healthcare wear their masks all day. They even used to recycle them by heating and some other procedures, but now that the supply is re-established they are throwing them out daily.

I have decided to bring my own supply of N95 masks with me to Spain (thanks again to @trecile for giving me her source!). I will be able to use the space in my backpack that was formerly occupied by my sleeping bag, since I plan to sleep only in private acommodations. ;)

The four-hour wearing limit is related to, and came from, airline guidance for wearing a mask continuously throughout one's flight, except when actually eating or drinking.

In practice, everyone is different. Some folks will be able to use one mask all day, especially if it is taken on and off, as when walking from village to village on a Camino. Other people may breathe more heavily and "wear out" the mask, or get it saturated with condensation from hard breathing.

In the end, it is up to the individual to change masks as they become less effective. I am not going to proscribe what the 'rule' is. Actually, I think there is only guidance, and not rules. They would be impossible to enforce.

Personally, when I fly over in a few weeks, I will have enough extra, single use masks with me to change out every four hours, or whenever I think I should. I do NOT plan to wake up if I am sleeping on the plane (which is normal for me on an overnight flight) just to change a mask. I'll change it when I wake up.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Ok, input from somebody living in Spain and wearing always a face mask since 1+ year.

All types of masks are now widely available in the big cities.
Take max a week's supply and restock as you go.
Personally, but this is my choice, I still double mask. Surgical mask first, cloths mask on top of it.
Masks are meant to prevent US from spreading the virus more than from getting it, for this we have the other person we meet wearing a mask.
Mask wearing is mandatory in Spain when indoors (apart of when actually eating and drinking) and outdoors if you can't keep a safe distance of 1,5m from others (this can vary a bit by region).

Hope that helps, SY
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Ok, input from somebody living in Spain and wearing always a face mask since 1+ year.

All types of masks are now widely available in the big cities.
Take max a week's supply and restock as you go.
Personally, but this is my choice, I still double mask. Surgical mask first, cloths mask on top of it.
Masks are meant to prevent US from spreading the virus more than from getting it, for this we have the other person we meet wearing a mask.
Mask wearing is mandatory in Spain when indoors (apart of when actually eating and drinking) and outdoors if you can't keep a safe distance of 1,5m from others (this can vary a bit by region).

Hope that helps, SY
I agree with you completely about the double masking. Not wearing a mask or not getting vaccinated is not a personal choice at all. It is pure and simple selfish and cruel and morally wrong. We all must respect each other's lives and you are right it is not protecting yourself, it is protecting that older woman so she can stay healthy and enjoy her grandchildren or that younger man who may be immunocompromised or going through Chemo and is fighting for their life. I do not believe that this is trolling or political, wearing a mask is part of what it means to be on pilgrimage and being a pilgrim.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
As a footnote: I believe FFP2/N95/KN95 masks are only fully effective if you are female or freshly shaved where the mask touches you. The slightest bit of stubble significantly lessens the seal between mask & face.
This is certainly the rule for industrial use of FFP2 masks.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
As a footnote: I believe FFP2/N95/KN95 masks are only fully effective if you are female or freshly shaved where the mask touches you. The slightest bit of stubble significantly lessens the seal between mask & face.
This is certainly the rule for industrial use of FFP2 masks.
I had read that previously and had forgotten about this. Thanks. I hate to shave more than once a week or so in life and especially on camino!! ugg
 

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