Recommendations for Extended Use of N95 Respirators and When to Discard N95 Mask
In this article, we'll learn about the extended use and reuse of N95 Respirators, the recommendations on using N95 Respirators for extended use and reuse, and when to discard them.
This article is particularly helpful for health workers and civilians as well.
The extended use of N95 Respirators
The extended use of N95 Respirators refers to the use of one N95 Respirator in a close encounter with several patients.
Ideally, for check-ups, a doctor or nurse should use one N95 Respirator for every session. But at this point, the supply of N95 Respirator can't support the demand of using one N95 Respirator per one close contact with a patient. Hence, the extended use of the N95 Respirator is recommended.
The definition of extended use of N95 Respirators can also be translated to civilians who use the same N95 Respirators all day when visiting various premises.
Definition of reuse
Reuse, on the other hand, is the practice of using the same N95 Respirator but removing it after a session with a patient. The N95 Respirator is then stored safely and used again for another encounter with a patient.
The definition of reuse of N95 Respirators can also be translated to civilians who reuse their N95 Respirators the next day and the day after that.
The recommendation for extended use of N95 Respirators
The extended use of N95 Respirators is favoured over its reuse. There is little chance for transmission on extended use of N95 Respirators than the reuse of N95 Respirators.
Below are the recommendations in extending the use of N95 Respirators without breaking the protective quality of the Respirator.
- The protective quality of N95 Respirators doesn't decrease with a certain period. Rather, the protection of N95 Respirators becomes irrelevant when it becomes contaminated.
- The extended use of N95 Respirators is also permitted if the place you're entering is covered with basic respiratory protection programs such as the installation of barriers, infrared thermometers, and the likes.
- The extended use of N95 Respirators is also considered healthy if the wearer adheres to the strict protocol of washing hands before and after using the Respirator.
The recommendation for the reuse of N95 Respirators
As mentioned before, there is no known period to which a respirator expires. However, some factors dictate when not to reuse an N95 Respirator.
N95 Respirators can be reused if you successfully follow the following guidelines of its correct use.
- If the establishment you've been through has a complete and correct set-up for a pandemic, such as barriers, infrared thermometers, and the likes.
- The reuse of N95 Respirators is okay if the wearer adheres to the strict protocol of washing hands before and after using the Respirator.
- If the Respirator isn't damaged and isn't contaminated with any bodily fluids.
- If your hand didn't touch the center or the Respirator's surface, except for the ear loops.
When do you discard your N95 Respirators?
Discard your N95 Respirators when or after:
- The Respirator has been tainted with bodily fluids like snot, blood, and so on.
- Following a close contact with a person under investigation of a viral cause.
- Damaged N95 Respirators.
- You can't breathe through a certain N95 Respirator.