Face masks getting hard to find in Kansas City metro as virus concerns increase

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Dozens of metro pharmacies say people seem to be stockpiling on medical supplies like face masks.

But many said they can’t keep up with the demand.

Managers at one KCK Walgreens said they’ve been sold out of protective masks for weeks, and they don’t know when they’ll have them in stock again.

That’s the same story at numerous pharmacies where customers looking for protection are going to shop.

RELATED: Metro health agencies say they’re ready for a coronavirus outbreak in USA

Customers are asking, but pharmacists at the Medicine Shoppe on Parallel Parkway don’t have any to sell either.

“I guess as soon as people heard about the virus, people were trying to plan ahead, and they cleaned us out,” pharmacist Daniel Reif said.

Reif has been a registered pharmacist for 20 years. He said there are two preferred masks for preventing the spread of diseases – the N95 and the N100. But they’re getting harder to find.

“If you’re using these to help prevent yourself from getting the flu or the cold, those are the people who’d want to get the mask to help prevent that,” he said.

Reif recommends these masks for prevention of flu germs, as well as other viruses, for young children, seniors and anyone else who might have a compromised immune system.

But if you can’t get masks, a scarf might do.

“A simple scarf or anything you’d cover your mouth with is going to maybe give you some benefit, maybe not as good as something that has a filtration device on it,” Reif said. “Again, it’s more about preventing the spread of your germs.”

Reif also recommends traditional practices – wash your hands often, cough and sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands, and if you or your children are sick, stay home until you’re well.



More News