Are You Aware About Re-Use Strategies of N95 Mask?  

During the start of this year, the whole world was affected by the pandemic situation created due to Covid-19 virus, and as a result the demand for N95 masks increased exponentially. It was really very difficult to meet the demand for N95 masks and as a result many creative solutions have emerged.

As a matter of fact, manufacturers of protective N95 masks like custom earth promos always recommend for using these masks only for once and then dispose them off. However, due to severe shortage of masks many different strategies were evolved over the last few months.

Now let us see what are the options available to us as far as using of these N95 masks are concerned.

  1. Extended use

As per the experts, N95 masks can be safely used for 8 hours however every manufacturer of these masks may have different specification. Therefore, before using for extended hours, it is important to know what the manufacturer recommends.

As per latest guidelines, people are asked to use another face shield after wearing N95 masks so that it may not be soiled quickly.

  1. Reuse

Since corona virus usually loses their effects after 72 hours and therefore many organizations suggest that these masks can be again used on rotational basis, if the masks are not soiled during the use.

According to CDC, these masks can always be reused maximum up to five times by rotating them, as we will discuss in the next.

Rotation of mask

As per CDC, you can have minimum 5 sets of N95 masks and use them on rotational basis during each day. You must allow your used masks for at least 72 hours and after that you can reuse the mask.

You can either store your used masks inside any clean paper packet or you must hang the used mask, so that it can dry up. However, you must not keep all masks together to avoid any physical contact with each other.

Also, make sure that these masks should never be shared with anyone. Each user must be able to identify their own mask and they should preferably be stored separately from each other.

While storing these masks, ensure that it remains in proper shape and should not get damaged and remain in reusable condition. In case, the masks are found to be damaged or contaminated then it is better to throw them out.

Reprocessing of masks 

Masks producers are seriously considering how these masks can be reprocessed and the principle for reprocessing will include:

  • Reprocessing method must inactivate the entire viral load present on these masks.
  • In no way these masks, be soiled.
  • The electrostatic charge as well as filtration capacity should be preserved.
  • The fit of these masks cannot be compromised.

Summary

Actually, so far, no definite “best practice” for use of N95 re-use as well as re-processing has evolved. All the methods and options that are suggested time to time are to avoid current crisis for time being.

Therefore, one need not follow these strategies on routine basis if there are insufficient masks available to you. Based on the availability of masks, the optimal strategy may vary for each institution or person.