DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – If you’re struggling to get your hands on N95 masks, you’re not alone. Following CDC leaders saying N95 masks protect people most efficiently against COVID-19, pharmacies and medical supply stores have seen an increase in demand for the masks.

At Zik’s Pharmacy in Dayton, owner and pharmacist Nnodum Iheme said they are also experiencing high demand for N95 masks. “We have a lot of people coming in asking for N95, and then we’ve been having calls for it. We do have it and whenever we get it in we run out.”

Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon said if you are buying these masks and wearing them, they will protect you. “As you move up to an N95, it filters out 95 percent of all the particles coming in. That’s because they allow for very small passage of any particles coming through.”

Kroger representatives released a statement on the struggle to find N95 masks saying in part, “At this time we are awaiting our distribution of masks from the Strategic National Stockpile and are prepared to make them available to the public as soon as we receive them.”

Meijer representatives also released a statement on the N95 mask search saying in part, “Each of our stores received thousands of N95 masks and, depending on demand, some of our stores are moving through their supply more quickly than others, which is to be expected. We hope to obtain more supply in the future.”

Pastor Kendall Washington is a longtime Zik’s Pharmacy customer who feels people could be panic buying the N95 masks resulting in supply shortages. “I think there’s a lot of fear going on of the unknown. First they say that masks protect you, then they say they don’t protect you, then they say just wear a cover, now they say you gotta get a special covering. I don’t know. Right now I think we’re operating out of fear of the unknown,” said Washington.

However Dr. Colon said while the masks are appealing to many, they aren’t needed for everyone. “If you are in a health care setting taking care of COVID patients. When you are constantly being exposed to respiratory secretions and airborne materials that are potentially contagious, yes that may be of more significant benefit to that individual.’

Zik’s Pharmacy is expected to have a new supply of N95 masks back in the next week.