With cases still high across Australia (and the world), here's everything you need to protect yourself against COVID-19.
Where to Buy N95 Masks and RAT Tests Online in Australia
Step out onto any street in Australia and you'd be forgiven for thinking that COVID-19 was a thing of the past, with few masks to be seen and QR check-ins all but phased out.
Unfortunately, however, the spicy cough isn't going away any time soon. And regardless of whether or not you have any underlying health conditions, it's still important to do everything you can to avoid getting COVID, which means stocking up on masks and tests.
Sadly, those cute cloth masks you used in 2020 and 2021 will no longer cut it against today's strains of the virus. N95 masks (along with KN95, P2 and FFP2 masks) offer the best protection against COVID as they filter out 95% of airborne particles. That said, they are increasingly difficult to come across, so we've scoured the web to find the best deals on N95 masks, as well as rapid antigen tests (RATs).
N95 masks and KN95 masks are functionally very similar, blocking out at least 95% of airborne particles. KN95 is simply the Chinese regulatory equivalent of American N95 masks. Though KN95 standards are not quite as strict as N95, both should offer about the same protection when worn correctly. P2, on the other hand, is the Australian regulatory version of N95 masks, while FFP2 is the European standard. Both P2 and FFP2 filter out at least 94% of airborne particles, making them almost as effective as N95 and KN95.
Regardless of which you choose, any of these masks is better than no mask at all.
Where to buy masks and RAT tests in Australia
Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
Most manufacturers of N95, KN95, P2 and FFP2 masks say their products should not be reused and instead disposed of after wearing. However, many experts say it's OK to reuse your mask once or twice as long as it is stored correctly between uses (away from potential contaminants) and the mask can still form a tight seal around the mouth.
Fit is essential for N95 masks to be at their most effective. Most masks should come with their own instructions, but here's some advice from Health Victoria.
- Place the mask on your face so the top rests on your nose and the bottom is secured under your chin.
- Place the top strap or ties over the head and position it high on the back of the head.
- Pull the bottom strap over your head and positioning it around your neck and below your ears.
- If your mask has ear loops, place them over each ear, tightening if required.
- Place fingertips from both hands at the top of the nosepiece and mould the nose area to the shape of your nose by pushing inward while moving your fingertips down both sides of the nosepiece.
PCR tests remain the gold standard when it comes to diagnosing COVID, but rapid antigen tests (RATs) can be useful when you need fast results. The TGA classifies RATs into three sensitivity levels: acceptable (80% sensitivity), high (90% sensitivity) and very high (95% sensitivity).
Though they're not as accurate as PCR tests, RATs are still effective at detecting the virus - particularly in people exhibiting COVID symptoms.