Those who follow the news for some time now were already familiar with the importance of face masks since almost every other video from China or a country or city with high air pollution was with people wearing them. Now, this pandemic taught us many things, and hopefully, we learned something from it and will do everything we can in order to prevent some new pandemic, but in times of crisis, people act and react in different ways. Let’s start with face masks as they represent the first and basic thing we can do to protect us from many diseases and viruses, which is why doctors, and especially surgeons, are always wearing them.
Now, the way they work, how to properly use them, whether and how often to change them, well that’s where we as a global society failed. Okay, some guidelines and advice from governments didn’t help, on the contrary, but still, in this modern era, where we can get all the necessary info with just a few clicks (and no, we don’t mean to check popular conspiracy theories), it was devastating to see all that confusion. Nonetheless, what troubled and still troubles most people is whether and how often to change them, what type is the best, and whether or not they are reusable. That is why we gathered some facts to help you better understand which face masks are reusable, so if you want to find out more, continue reading.
Cloth masks are reusable
Cloth masks are popular among people because we can find them in many different designs, and they can be the perfect way to express ourselves during a pandemic. They fit into each style, and a variety of colors and materials may help us stand from a crowd, but it is necessary to be careful when choosing the perfect one. The first thing we should check is the material because the mask should allow us to breathe normally. Since there are too many of them on the market, it can be difficult to determine the best material, and if you choose cotton, you will never be wrong. Another important characteristic that they should have is two layers because it is the only way to be sure that you are fully protected. The size also matters, and too big or too small one cannot protect us, so it needs to fit perfectly. Proper wash and disinfection are crucial, and it is never a good idea to wear the same one a few times or too long without doing it. You can wash it with laundry, but make sure that the washing machine is set to the highest temperature, and keep in mind that you should not wear it until it is completely dry.
Reusing of surgical masks
The recommendation is to use the surgical mask only once and dispose of it properly after that, but it can be reused for three days with proper storage. That means that it needs to be dry and not be torn because any damage can be dangerous for our health. It is necessary to take it off properly and store it into the bag with a zip lock with desiccated gel. This gel will absorb moisture and keep it dry for the next usage, and the bag will prevent contact with bacteria and germs, and the mask will remain safe for use. Always reuse only your mask, make sure that it is whole and has an intact shape, and if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, dispose of it after every use. Do not forget to wash your hands before putting it on, and after taking it off, and again after storing it in the bag.
Extended use of N95 masks is better than reuse
The shortage of masks and other medical equipment was something that people from all over the world faced when the virus spread, but luckily, it was solved quickly. We were all watching the news, trying to find out the best way to deal with COVID-19, to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and what we could see from the news is that the first responders wore the N95 masks. These masks filter at least 95% (hence the name) of the particles we would breathe if it not for them, and they are a great physical barrier against the virus. But all the benefits aside, once used, N95 should not be reused, and there are several reasons for that, but the main one being that masks gather particles and viruses that can be damaging to us, which is why their proper disposal is also of great importance. That is why even the WHO and CDC recommend extended use rather than reuse, as once you dispose of it properly, the mask itself represents a potential hazard in spreading the disease.
Face masks disposal
This one is simply a must thing to mention as some of us are forgetting that no matter which one we choose to wear, all of them should be treated as medical waste, and because of that, it is necessary to dispose of them properly. That means it is never a good idea to throw it into the trash can because that can make other people get into contact with it, which can be dangerous for their health. Viruses can survive for some period, and the infected mask can be hazardous for a few days, so we should be aware of that. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to touch it since the infection can be transmitted through the air, and the only way to be sure that you are not endangering other people is to dispose of the mask in a place intended for that.
The bottom line
As you can see, it all comes up to what type of face mask you have, and if it is a cloth one, then reusing is not the problem, but for disposable and N95 masks, it’s much better to wear them for a longer period than to reuse them, but, of course, it is always a much better solution to get a new one. Worrying about whether there will be enough masks is luckily a thing of the past, and today, one can easily find a place to buy them, as stores, malls, and shopping centers offer them on your way in. Of course, you can always buy them in advance so that you are fully aware that they are safe, which is why ordering them online is what most people tend to do, and if you don’t know where to buy them, check schutzmasken.ch, a trustworthy company with vast experience in making face masks.