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Are N95 Masks Reusable?


Table of Contents:

The N95 mask is the top-performing masks for particulate matter. An N95 mask can filter up to 95 percent of particulate matter from 0.3 to 2.5PM. 

One of the most frequently asked questions about it is: 

Are N95 masks reusable?

The answer to this could be dependant on the scenario of where and when you’ll be using it.

If you’re a health worker, it’s obligatory on your part to change it on a daily basis. 

In a low risk area, a person can use it for 2 to 3 days. As to use it as daily protection against getting sick in a normal environment, you can reuse it as long as "maintains its structural and functional integrity and the filter material is not physically damaged or soiled."

But if you’ll be using it in a high-risk outbreak like coronavirus, it’s recommended to be replaced daily.

It’s also noted that the longer you reuse your N95 mask, it loses its original percentage of filtration. It decreases by a little that could be still tolerable.

new vs old mask - reusable
Image Source: Thomas Talhelm

The only disadvantage of re-using an N95 mask is that moisture and particulates get trapped in the filtering material over time.

The effectiveness of the filter won’t decrease but the strain on your lungs will increase, which can be dangerous.

In case you’ve decided to reuse your N95 mask, it’s recommended that a protective covering such as a medical mask or a clear plastic face shield should be worn over the mask to protect it from surface contamination. 

The N95 mask should also be carefully stored between uses, and the user should wash his hands before and after handling it and the cover used to shield it. These steps are intended for the reuse of a mask by a single person.

Handle your mask in such a way that the physical integrity and efficacy will not be compromised.

Make a seal check every time you reuse it and if there’s breathing resistance and obvious defects in the structure, you need to replace it right away.

Make your safety your first priority always. Don’t compromise and take extra precautions in using and reusing your N95 mask.

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