(WHNT) — Since the start of the pandemic, face coverings have been part of the protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The cream of the crop for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are N-95 masks. These masks through a U.S. certification, while KN-95 go through a Chinese certification process, but the CDC says about 60% of KN-95s in the United States don’t meet quality standards.

Health officials say to shop carefully to help tell the real deals from the fakes.

“Making sure that the certification body and some of the numbers are stamped on the front of the masks [and] looking to reputable sources, of course, is the most important thing when you’re purchasing a mask,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). “Then, of course, looking at the mask itself.”

Stubblefield says N-95s are only made in adult sizes and have the lifespan of about 40 hours. Double layering surgical and cloth masks, as well as staying socially distant can be effective as well.

Ultimately, he says the best mask is simply one that you use consistently and correctly.