Given the current situation following the appearance of Covid-19, reusing masks seems to be one of the necessary measures to lengthen the inventory of existing protectors.
The masks serve to protect us from infectious agents present in the air, as well as from micro-drops of saliva, which occur naturally when a person speaks, coughs or sneezes.
However, the high demand for protective material makes it necessary to search for alternatives that guarantee the effectiveness of the masks after use.
The reuse of protective masks should only be applied through specific and effective measures to be used by health personnel.
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The use of protective masks is one of the main barriers to prevent the spread of diseases, including coronavirus.
Protective equipment, used by healthcare personnel, is complemented with glasses, gloves, gowns and shoe covers, as a minimum. In some cases, the use of caps and beard covers is contemplated.
Given this reality, is it advisable to reuse masks?
The reuse of masks has only been recommended for healthcare personnel. To do so, protective equipment must be subjected to decontamination processes.
In addition, it should be noted that the only masks that can be treated for reuse are N95, a highly resistant respirator especially for this type of use.
How to Disinfect Disposable Masks
There are two methods used to decontaminate the protective masks:
- Heat the mask, model N95, in an oven at 70°C. This operation must be maintained for 10 minutes.
- Place the N95 mask over the boiling water vapour. In this case, 10 minutes will be enough to disinfect it.
It is important to note that disposable masks, like N95 and FFP, protect the individual from direct contact with the microorganism, preventing infection with fluids and secretions from people with the virus.
In the case of filtering masks (FFP), they can be reused if they are kept in optimum hygiene conditions.
FFP masks prevent the entry of microorganisms, because they have a filter that prevents the circulation of air from outside to inside.
On the other hand, it is important to point out that disposable masks should be discarded when they come into contact with secretions or when they present humidity.
What do the manufacturers say about reusing masks?
Masks are personal protective equipment that, in the face of risk situations such as pandemics in which it is necessary to reuse these supplies, it is necessary to take into account the manufacturers’ instructions for use.
Manufacturers report two instances where mask use may be prolonged, resulting in limited reuse or extended use of the mask.
- Limited reuse: consists of using the same mask when treating several patients. In this case, healthcare personnel remove and put on the mask before attending to one patient and another.
- Extended use: refers to the use of the same mask without removing it when treating different patients. In this circumstance, it is applied to patients infected with the same respiratory pathogen. They are usually found in the same medical care room.
Extended use of the mask over limited reuse is recommended, because the first case offers a lower risk of self-inoculation due to contact with the contaminated surface.
In either case, the protective mask must be worn by the same person.
Other aspects of interest regarding the reuse of the mask have to do with effectiveness and proper facial fit.
In the case of the N95, FFP2 and FFP3 masks, models recommended for use by healthcare personnel, we must ensure that the protective equipment is in optimum condition.
- Check the effectiveness of the mask filter
- Ensure facial fit. It is suggested that after five reuses, the fit of the mask be confirmed as being adequate for the morphology of the user’s face
Other manufacturers’ recommendations on proper use of masks are
- Do not use the filter masks for more than 8 hours
- Dispose of the mask if it is damp, dirty or contaminated
- Respect the conditions of use of the protective mask to ensure the effectiveness of this
A video that can help clear up doubts
The intention of this video is to show a different way of taking advantage of the use of masks, sterilizing them in the microwave oven so as not to waste this material.
It is very simple, you only have to remove the metallic material present in the mask and place it inside the microwave for 4 minutes.
It is important to emphasize that the elastics of the masks should be glued or cooked, since if they have staples or are metallic they can be burned.
It also recommends another method used to sterilize the masks, which consists of submerging the masks for several minutes in alcohol and then leaving them to dry in the sun.
With these methods you can extend the usefulness of your mask and reuse it when you leave your home, for cases allowed by the authorities.
Disposable masks for your safety
At Monouso we care about your health and safety, so we offer a wide range of disposable masks that help reduce the risk of contact with pathogenic fluids.
We have disposable masks, in various models and at the best prices, with which you can protect yourself from suction or contact with liquid and solid particles, which are suspended in the environment.
Our products are made with excellent quality materials, ideal to minimize contact with infectious agents and the best market price.