Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends re-usage of coronavirus face mask to slowdown the contamination due to COVID-19. However, the most critical question in this context is only one; you need to know if disposable masks, such as the surgical ones or the N95, can be worn again. The best way to answer you here is by saying yes, it is possible to wear disposable masks repeatedly. However, the catch is that you must know how to wear it properly.
Dr. Lucian Davis, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, says that the first rule is not to touch the mask. Davis is a researcher, and his field is respiratory infections. According to him, touching a mask can lead to the transmission of coronavirus on the surface. However, if you have already touched your mask, the best way to protect yourself is to clean your hands with a good soap immediately. Besides, you can also apply a sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol to control contamination. Moreover, there are restrictions when you want to remove the mask as well. The ideal way of doing so is when no one is around you.
How to remove, clean, and dispose coronavirus face mask?
When you are trying to remove your cover, the best way to do so safely is by making sure that you do not touch. You can remove it by pulling from the ear strings and not the mask itself. According to Dr. Lucian Davis, the maximum possibility is that most germs and viruses are stuck to the front part of your face cover. Therefore, try to avoid touching that part at all times. After you have safely removed the face cover, placing it in a safe yet convenient place is very important.
According to Jade Flinn, MSN, the nurse educator for the Biocontainment Unit at Johns Hopkins Medicine, she and her colleagues smartly dispose of masks. They store it in paper bags that have a few holes. Firstly, the face cover remains safely inside, and they can also air out through the holes in this case. You can use other clean storages that contain proper ventilation as well.
Dr. Davis says that he approves this method, and adds that he has also seen medical practitioners following this method. Moreover, Dr. Davis says that you can easily use the brown paper bags that are readily available. These are the same bags in which you carry food in. Just remove your mask, and drop it inside the bag, and seal it by folding.
Other storage methods for reusable masks
Experts recommend the usage of simple Ziploc or Tupperware bags for storage as well. However, they are warning people to avoid touching the edges of these packages. Besides, both Davis and Flinn believe that leaving it in a clean place is better than trying to clean a mask. One of the primary reasons for the logic is that if you are using a disinfectant on fiber or a cloth mask, it is, in turn, very harmful for your health. So, just let the face cover lie down in a safe place before you use it again.
If you consider how masks are cleaned in hospitals, the difference will become clear. In these places, the trained staff uses specialized machines and gases to clean masks. However, you cannot possibly use the same methods at home. According to research, the virus can live for around 24-48 hours on materials such as fabric, cardboard, or paper. However, if the mask is dirty or torn, then you should undoubtedly dispose of it off permanently.