Coronavirus has gripped the world with new variants to spread panic among nations even after the arrival of vaccines. Face masks will continue to be a part of our lives as long as we want to avoid intensifying the situation with multiplying viral particles. Coronavirus is believed to transmit from one host to another host signifying the need for practicing hand hygiene and wearing face masks in routine. However, people are concerned if the face masks can endure reuse without affecting the filtration efficiency, fit, and overall performance. Extended use and reuse of N95 particulate respirators is not only restricted to decontamination methods as they should also be examined for seal damage each time before use.
Although N95 respirators are classified as disposable face masks, they can be reused to conserve supplies for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommended approach still has restrictions on reusing the same respirator for a limited number of times. The limited reuse of N95 respirators has been a lifesaving strategy in times of critical shortage of masks for front line workers fighting against the virus. However, it is crucial to retain the functional integrity of face masks with approved cleaning methods used for decontaminating masks along with proper donning and doffing techniques. Moreover, ensure that the filtration efficiency and seal are not compromised when reusing the same respirators again although the number of times you can wear a N95 face mask will still remain limited. It is recommended to take care of all factors affecting the efficiency of medical grade N95 face mask for optimal performance as long as you intend to use it. Also, choose a reliable source to buy an N95 particulate respirator to prioritize safety from all aspects.
Cleaning Method for Decontamination
The CDC recommends limiting the reuse of N95 face masks to up to 5 times per device even after decontaminating them with approved cleaning methods. This is to ensure that the effectiveness and fit performance is not compromised with multiple donning. The most effective cleaning methods include treating the face mask with ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide vapor spray, 70 percent ethanol spray, or hydrogen peroxide vapor spray. The fact that you have to switch the face mask after cleaning it twice remains unchanged regardless of the decontamination method. An even more safe method is to use five N95 face masks in rotation to sterilize them naturally when allowed to air dry for up to 5 days.
Surgical masks cannot be decontaminated by any method as they should be disposed right after a single use. Cloth masks can however be washed and let dry before putting them back on. N95 respirators remain the best protection against infectious diseases particularly when the wearer is at high risk of exposure to pathogens.
The filter efficiency certainly decreases with the number of times you use the same mask as the particles may get trapped within the filter. Wearers may also find it difficult to breathe after the mask has been decontaminated as the filtering properties might change. Therefore, it is safe to reuse N95 respirators until they get contaminated, damaged, or have a broken seal. Putting the mask out to air dry is the safest method if you want to reuse it without compromising on its effectiveness. MedicalSupplyAll.com makes highest quality N95 particulate respirator masks available on a single reliable platform to ensure efficient filtration with respirator’s 4-layer design. MedicalSupplyAll.com includes medical grade N95 face mask made in USA options that are extremely breathable for the convenience of wearers.
Seal and Fitting
It is crucial to keep a check on seal and fitting of the face mask you wear as a damaged seal will not protect you from the viral particles. Reusing an N95 face mask while donning it consecutively will make the tethering straps loose while not securing a tight seal around the mouth and nose. On the other hand, extending the use of respirators does not have much of an effect on fit performance. Note that every face mask is not fit for a reuse until it is monitored for damage occurred after repeated uses.
Proper Donning and Doffing Technique
The coronavirus pandemic led to reuse of N95 face masks because of availability concerns provided it is worn and stored properly. It is important to realize that wearing a mask properly is as important as its filtration efficiency. Store the face mask in dry air or a closed plastic container to isolate and kill germs as the virus cannot survive without a host. Donning a used N95 face mask with a pair of clean gloves keeps the wearer protected from any germs that might have contaminated the mask. Also, discard the gloves each time you use them for donning the face mask. There is no specific number of times you can reuse the same mask although you can adopt proper using techniques to keep yourself safe and protected.
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When to Discard N95 Face Mask?
Taking care of all precautions while using face masks is necessary to keep ourselves and everyone around safe. Know what makes the face mask inefficient even if you have used decontamination methods previously as the mask cannot be cleaned if it is contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids. It is recommended to discard N95 face mask after encountering patients with infectious disease.
It is advised to contact PPE manufacturers to specify appropriate decontamination techniques to clean face masks. At MedicalSupplyAll.com, you will find highest quality face mask options from well reputed brands to protect from infectious diseases. It is a reliable source for buying American made N95 face masks certified from NIOSH with fast shipping and great prices. The wide selection of surgical masks and N95 face masks from brands including 3M, ALG Health, BYD, DemeTech, Dobu Mask, Fangtian, Healthify, Kimberly-Clark, Magid, Makrite, Moldex, Sanical, and United States Mask makes MedicalSupplyAll.com your go to place to find reliable personal protective equipment. They facilitate customers with 24/7 customer support service to answer all concerns related to products.