How Can N95 Be Used To Prevent Infection As Covid Surges?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : January 17, 2022

Health experts in America have requested people to change their cloth masks to N95 or KN95 masks. Even if people are ready to swap, the high price of N95 and its one-time usage give them second thoughts to buy them. This brings the question of how long can each mask be used and can be reused.

How Can N95 Be Used To Prevent Infection As Covid Surges?

Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech made a statement that, as omicron’s transmissible rate is more than other corona variants, it can easily pass through normal masks, no matter how thick it is.

How Can N95 Be Used To Prevent Infection As Covid Surges

As most people were seen to be using Surgical or N95 masks it is to be noted that cloth masks are completely ineffective against Omicron.

N95 mask’s material and its ability aren’t effected unless its surface is rubbed or poked. Its ability to filter air can last for a week, said Marr. She added, If one is in a really polluted environment it can lose its ability to filter air reduces dramatically if they are being used in a really polluted environment until then it’s fine to use them for a long time. She said that it’s okay to use them for as long as 40 hours, but based on the quality of the mask, their straps may get ripped even before it loses their ability to filter.

It is advised not to use N95 masks more than five times. Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, a physician specializing in infectious diseases from Ohio Health advised people to buy a pack of N95 masks and use them on cycle, as it may prolong its ability to spoil and each mask can last a bit more than 5 days. Rotating the masks and storing them can prolong the mask’s life span. It is advised not to touch the front portion, especially the part right in front of the nose and mouth. Even if the person wearing an N95 mask is said to be in a crowded place, the mask is designed to hold back the majority of the particles. There is a definite possibility that a person could have come into contact with an infected person in crowded regions while wearing an N95 mask. Distancing by at least 6 feet is the best way to prevent getting infected, in such places.

The Polypropylene Fibres in N95 act as both mechanical and electrostatic barriers, which makes it an ideal mask against Covid-19. The difference between N95 and KN95 masks is the place the masks were certified. N95 masks are certified while KN95 masks are certified by China. Most of the KN95 masks that the U.S. imported from China were found to be counterfeit and it doesn’t meet the requirements of the National Institute of Occupational Health & Safety, according to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The longer the N95 mask is used, the quicker it gets spoiled. If the N95 mask is used frequently and for a longer time, more particles accumulate on the surface. These particles eventually die off, or the process can be boosted by setting the surface in sunlight. Increased temperature, like sunlight, can have an effect on the particles present on the surface, though it may not be fully effective it can lengthen the lifespan of N95 and KN95 masks. Similar to cloth masks, N95 masks shouldn’t be washed, because there is a static electric charge present between them. Washing it wears them off. It is advised to wear a recycled N95 mask rather than not wearing an N95, as re-used N95 masks would have better filtering than other masks.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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