How Long Can N95 Respirator Masks Be Used & Are They Reusable?

How Long Can N95 Respirator Masks Be Used & Are They Reusable?

How Long Can N95 Respirator Masks Be Used & Are They Reusable?

 Due to recent spikes in demand, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has been in limited supply on the market. Without reliable access to these vital products, many have begun to reuse PPE that is intended to be single use. Before you reuse your N95 respirators, it is important to learn the best practices for prolonging the usage of a single mask.

 CDC Recommendations

 According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), N95 respirators are intended to be used only once, and then disposed of. However, during times where mask supplies need to be conserved, the CDC permits the extended use and limited reuse of N95 masks. In these cases, extended use is favored over reuse, because it often involves less touching of the respirator and therefore less risk of contact transmission. 

 How Long Can N95 Masks Be Used & Reused? 

 While there is no official limit on the length of time an N95 mask can be used, preliminary data suggests that N95 respirators can be worn for periods of 8 hours, with recommended reusage being limited to 5 uses. If it becomes necessary for you to reuse your N95 mask, follow these guidelines to safely prolong the usage of a single mask.

  1. Avoid touching the surface of your N95 respirator as much as possible. If the inside of your mask is touched, dispose of it and use a new one.
  2. When donning, removing, or adjusting your mask, thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching the mask surface. If possible, wear clean gloves whenever you must touch the mask.
  3. When you are not using your mask, place it in a clean and breathable storage area. Storage containers should either be cleaned or disposed of regularly, making paper bags a great option for mask storage. Avoid cross-contamination by storing each mask in a separate container.
  4. Before reusing a mask, inspect it for any damage that may impact its functionality, such as stretched out elastic straps, deformed mask shape, or tears in the mask surface.

 When to Stop Using an N95 Respirator

 You should stop wearing and dispose of your N95 respirator if you notice that the fit or function of the mask is compromised. The N95 respirator should fit snugly around the face, forming a seal with no gaps. If you begin to feel that the mask is difficult to breathe through, or is leaking air when you breathe, it is time to dispose of that mask. 

 A mask should also be disposed of if it has been exposed to potentially harmful particles, such as blood or nasal secretions, or if it has been worn around a patient with an infectious disease.

 

Replacing N95 Respirator Masks

Once your N95 mask has passed the point of reusage, properly dispose of it and replace it with  a new one. Restock your supply of N95 respirator masks by ordering online with Ohana Medical Supply Company! We offer N95 and KN95 masks from trusted manufacturers.

1 comment

  • I want some of these

    Glenda Jones

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