OHSU pediatrician recommends students wear surgical grade masks

Updated: Jan. 4, 2022 at 5:08 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – A new guidance from The Oregon Department of Education emphasizes existing protocols at districts like wearing masks.

A pediatrician at the Oregon Health & Science University says research shows the Omicron-variant is more transmissible than other variants, specifically through airborne spread.

She tells FOX 12 an extra layer of filtration from the K-N95 masks may improve statewide efforts in reducing its spread.

Dr. Eliza Hayes Bakken at OHSU is advising parents to upgrade their children’s masks amid a surge of COVID-19 case numbers in Oregon.

“So, the surgical masks, the K-N95 or the K-F-94s coming from other countries and meant to be medical masks – they are built to have more filtration in them,” Bakken said.

Dr. Bakken says those masks are also easier to fit to a child’s face. She adds cloth masks aren’t as effective becuase of the material and a typically looser fit.

“The cloth, a weave of fabric, is going to be looser than the weave of a filter of a surgical grade mask. Those little particles that are airborne can still get through the cloth mask and be spread,” Bakken said.

Dr. Bakken added both K-N95s and K-F-94s are not approved for medical use in the United States, but they are still the most effective option for kids.