JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With so many companies selling face masks, it’s hard to determine which ones are actually effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Doctors have been encouraging the public to mask up since the beginning of the pandemic. According to experts, the N-95 mask is the best choice for stopping the spread.

“The CDC has indicated that individuals should wear the most protective mask possible. At this point, that’s the N-95 mask. It filters down to three microbes, which is about 95% of all particles. Viruses hitchhike on particles of fluid that are produced as we talk. These masks are really effective at stopping that mode of transportation,” said Central Mississippi Health Services Medical Director Dr. Lionel Frazier.

Yet, more and more masks continue to hit the market. Counterfeit versions of the N-95 mask made in China have been found all over the United States. The CDC estimated that 60% of N-95 masks in America are fake.

“It obviously gives you a sense of security that isn’t there. It puts the individual who’s wearing, and the people around them at risk if they have COVID,” said Frazier.

There are resources available to for people to make sure the mask they purchase is correct.

“There’s a list from the CDC and FDA that lists all of the manufactured-approved masks that meet specific standards. That’s always a first reference if there’s ever a question about the product,” said Frazier.

There are a few other ways to make sure an N-95 mask is real. All real N-95 masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. You’ll notice the organization’s acronym (NIOSH) on the product label if it’s real. Approval numbers should also be listed on the mask’s filter or headband.

The Biden Administration recently announced that free N-95 masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and county health centers nationwide by the end of the week.

Find the list of CDC and FDA approved N-95 manufacturers here.