Where to find N95 masks following updated CDC federal mask guidance

Masks are no longer required on public transportation or in public places. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend masks for travel, releasing a new statement on May 3 upon the expiration of their previous mandate that required masks, which was struck down by a judicial decision in the federal court syste

Are you looking to up your stash of N95 masks for upcoming travel in light of this news? You're in luck, because N95 face mask availability is high, and N95 prices are lower than ever.

The CDC still recommends that everyone age 2 and older wear a mask or respirator in indoor areas of transportation and in transportation hubs, such as on airplanes and in airports.

This public health recommendation is based on "an understanding of domestic and global epidemiology, circulating variants and their impact on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness, current trends in COVID-19 Community Levels within the U.S., projections of COVID-19 trends in the coming months" and more.

N95 masks offer the best protection against COVID-19, as they're designed to filter at least 95% of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns when the mask forms a tight seal on your face.

This means an N95 mask will be your best protection against the BA.2 Omicron subvariant that's spreading through the Northeast, when combined with social distancing.

What to know about N95 masks before you buy

It's important to pick up an N95 mask that's approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Find the full list of approved N95 brands here (and all the picks below are NIOSH-approved, naturally).

Beware: There are counterfeit N95 masks online, so be sure to check the brand name on the NIOSH site, and to shop at trusted retailers to avoid ending up with a fake N95 face mask.

One more thing you should know about N95 masks -- you can rewear them.

The CDC says that health care professionals can rewear an N95 mask up to five times before its thrown out. 

Experts note, however, that you should discard a mask sooner if it no longer forms a tight seal on your face, or if it gets dirty or wet.

We've found protective N95 face masks available at Honeywell, Amazon and more below.