COVID-19 has almost turned the whole world upside down in the past two years. We have faced almost the worst of our time as a global community. The world’s economy has suffered a lot. Healthcare systems across the world have been in a constant state of emergency. Government officials, scientists, and medical specialists urge to stop the viral spread through precautionary measures like maintaining social distance, wearing a face covering, sanitizing your hands, etc.
N95 face masks made in USA present one of the safest options when it comes to choosing a face covering. However, the increased demand has affected the manufacturing and supply of N95 respirators significantly. There has been severe shortage of these masks in the market. Many companies are manufacturing them but not offering public sale. Therefore, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that the general public must use surgical masks and practice social distancing so that N95 masks can be provided to the healthcare personnel who need added protection.
Since the shortage is a little severe, the officials also suggest about reusing the N95 masks but that too with special care and for a specific time period. Now, you must be thinking that if it is safe to reuse the mask? How long will it work? When to reuse and how? Well, here are the answer to all of these question.
Reusing N95 respirators
If you’re someone who is not dealing with Corona infected people on daily basis, someone who has a normal infection rate around, you can use your N95 masks for days. You just have to make sure that you maintain a safe distance from people. However, if you are a medical healthcare provider or someone who has to deal with COVID-19 patients daily, the maximum time for using an N95 mask is 8 hours. This is because the air around you is so contaminated that the chances of infection are very high and it isn’t safe to keep using the same mask.
But considering the shortage of masks, our experts have come up with some amazing mask-reusing strategies that can allow you to use your N95 face mask made in USA for an extended period of time like around 72 hours. But it is only safe if you use these strategies properly to clean your mask for an effective reuse. Note that if you notice that your mask is damaged or soiled anyway, don’t consider it for a reuse and dispose it off safely.
Guidelines for extended use and reuse
The CDC is actively investigating some mask decontamination strategies for extended use and reuse of N95 masks. Some of these strategies include;
- Hydrogen peroxide vaporization
- UV treatment
- Moist heat treatment
- Dry heat treatment
All of these treatments aim at inactivating the viral load on the mask sufficiently. Special care must be taken while performing them so that the filtration capacity, electrostatic charges, and fit of the mask isn’t compromised anyway. If your masks successfully undergoes these treatments, it can safely be used for a long time.
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