LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the omicron variant continues to surge across the state, more Arkansans are looking for the best way to protect themselves and their families. A hot topic of debate is which masks work best.

There are a lot of options when it comes to face masks. For most of the pandemic, most people chose the cloth mask but now the CDC says to swap it for an N95 or KN95.

They say it provides the best protection against omicron, but there is still some debate on what to buy for kids. Arkansas Children’s Hospital Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Jessica Snowden said the N95 and KN95 masks do offer the best protection, however, the most important thing to consider when buying a mask for your child is what will they actually wear and wear properly.

“The best mask is one that fits your face well, so certainly making sure you’ve got it over your nose and mouth, which is something I see all the time as an error,” Dr. Snowden said. “It doesn’t matter how good your mask is if it’s not worn in the right place.”

With that new guidance, she also talked about some things people need to watch out for.

Dr. Snowden said there are a lot of medical-grade mask options out on the market right now but warns people they may not all be legit.

“Just be really very careful with some of those N95 masks and higher-grade masks to know that it’s a good mask,” Dr. Snowden said. “There are lots of fraudulent products out there right now on the market and the CDC does keep a list of these are actually high-quality masks that you can get for you and your family.”

The Biden administration is making 400,000,000 N95 masks available for free to Americans starting this week. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country.

To see what masks are approved by the CDC you can visit their website at CDC.gov.