September 25, 2023
N95 Mask

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing the N95 black mask or any other color provides better protection against COVID-19 and its variants. The CDC often officially uses the term respirator when referring to this type of mask. They are more effective than regular masks, explaining why most people prefer them.

These respirators range from $1 to $3 per piece. Even though this may seem low initially, it becomes costlier as it piles up. That explains why most people are cautious about disposing of them needlessly. Read to the end to learn more if you can or cannot reuse the N95 and the KN95 mask.

Guide to safely reusing the N95 mask

Whether or not you can reuse a mask depends on your unique situation. For most people, you do not need to dispose of your mask every time you use it or per day. On the contrary, you can follow CDC guidelines for safely reusing a mask. According to the guideline, storing a mask in a paper bag for a few days makes it reusable. 

During the early days of the pandemic, the CDC devised a strategy to deal with the shortage of the N95 among health workers. All they needed to do was store their masks in a brown paper bag for several days. The approach works because the coronavirus has a survival rate of 72 hours. Storing the mask for up to seven days is enough time to inactivate it.

You can opt to buy five pieces of N95 mask made in USA and seven brown paper bags to help with the rotation process. Label the bags and keep one piece of mask in each bag. Keep track of each mask you wear and ensure it is always the last in line after removing it.

Is reusing the N95 mask safe?

You can safely reuse your N95 mask without worrying about COVID-19 or the infectious Omicron infection. 

The mask works by trapping particles containing viruses in its layers. These particles enter the air whenever an infected person sneezes or coughs. However, you cannot breathe the particles since you have a mask. The N95 has tightly-fitting layers which trap much smaller particles. 

The trapped particles stay within the layers. Thus, storing the mask for a couple of days (more than 72 hours) inactivates them and makes the mask safe for you. Even as you reuse the mask, ensure that you handle it carefully and maintain good hygiene. Only touch the elastics and always wash your hands afterward. 

Does mask-treating in heat work?

If you have a limited number of the KN95 mask black, you may consider decontaminating your masks using dry-heat. A 2020 research paper concluded that this approach is only effective up to two times. Disinfecting using UV light works up to three times. Doing it more than the guided timeframe compromises the mask’s fit and filtration even though it may achieve disinfection.

Also Read: The Importance Of Strategic Quality Planning.

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