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Peace of mind. I think it’s fair to say it’s at the forefront of our attention as we head into 2021.

Remember how in the beginning of this pandemic, everyone was scrambling to get their hands on any safe and certified face mask they could find? There was an unheard-of surge in demand and low availability. As Samantha Subramanian wrote for The Guardian: “No object better symbolizes the pandemic than the mask, and no object better explains the world into which the pandemic arrived.”

We’ve come a long way since those initial days of frenzy, with plenty of options now in stock. Which is why I’ve spent the better part of the last year purchasing every mask you can think of. I’ve tried them out in the dozens — from your basic cloth mask to a full length face shield (not the most comfortable when running errands).

While some were better than others, none were noteworthy enough to buy a second time. Until now.

N95MASKCO’s NIOSH Foldable Masks are the first kind I’ve ended up ordering twice.

Something that immediately caught my eye is that they’re certified by NIOSH and able to filter 95% of very small non-oily particles (0.3 micron levels to be exact). Meaning, if someone sneezes or coughs, you’ll be better protected than if you were using a simple surgical mask.

This is especially important if you work in higher risk environments.

As I said before: peace of mind.

Knowing I can buy groceries and go about my day without worry is BIG on my list of priorities. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

Aside from the Spanish flu of 1918, COVID-19 has been one of the major medical scares we’ve seen as a nation. It’s had catastrophic effects, with deaths and hospitalizations continuing to rise. As Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told The New York Times “It’s just an astonishing number,” she says. “We’re in the middle of this really severe wave and I think as we go through the day to day of this pandemic, it can be easy to lose sight of how massive and deep the tragedy is.”

Which is to say, none of us can afford to take things lightly.

But we also don’t have to spend the bulk of our days in discomfort, either.

That’s why I ended up ordering N95MASKCO’s foldable masks again.

They held up during the day. I’ve tried masks that I’ve needed to take off after an hour because the tight straps gave me a headache, or they dug into the side of my ears.

Whereas, these masks fit well to the face — the head and neck loops made them easy to wear for an extended period of time. And because they’re designed as cup style, they molded comfortably around my face for easy air flow.

The fact that they’re foldable also made them easy to store and travel with so I didn’t have to worry about damaging them when not using (something I’ve done on more occasions than I can count with other masks).

An added bonus? They won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You can get the NIOSH N95 Foldable Mask for $3.50—$4 per mask, with fast shipping.

The retailer also carries other options (without the folding functionality but equally as good) like a rigid cup style N95 and the patent pending Respokare N95 NIOSH certified respirator with advanced antiviral technology. The manufacturer, Innonix, claims that the mask can inactivate up to 99.9 percent of virus and bacteria particles within minutes. What’s more, you won’t only be protected from the coronavirus, but from other airborne diseases like influenza and measles.

The bottom line: even as normalcy remains a high hill for us to climb right now, adding in an extra layer of safety can guarantee us more tranquility — a wise investment in my book.

LA Weekly