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How To Use Face Masks For A Long Time

Wearing face masks helps people feel protected and reassured. Avoiding exposure to harmful germs and viruses is tantamount to survival in these testing times. Let’s figure out how to use face masks for a long time for curbing danger. Read!

People these days often land themselves in a dilemma that begs certain questions to be answered the best way possible. If face masks shield you from infectious diseases – including COVID-19 – is there a way to use masks for longer periods?

Also Read: Organize Yourself In This Lockdown

In more ways than none, a properly worn three-ply surgical mask helps block transmission of large-particle microorganisms from droplets, sprays, splatters, and splashes. The mask may also reduce the likelihood of hand-to-face contact.

Now that the governments across the world have made it mandatory to wear masks in public spaces, followed by a fresh WHO recommendation to wear them, you may find yourself worrying about buying too many masks. But if you, for any reason, can’t afford to get new masks, you can try washing and reusing them as a solution of last resort. After all, wearing a worn-out mask is still better than not wearing one.

Effectiveness of a washed mask is questionable, but according to Business Insider, people are using them!

Note: Surgical masks and N95 respirators are usually disposable, but because of the shortage during the coronavirus outbreak, health care workers are re-suing them.

Stay Updated | How To Use Face Masks For A Long Time

The World Health Organization (WHO)  recommends using surgical masks when going out in public places.

Although a surgical mask helps trap larger respiratory droplets, it can’t protect you from contracting the novel coronavirus, which is known as SARS-CoV-2. That’s because surgical masks:

  • don’t filter out smaller airborne particles
  • don’t fit snugly on your face, so airborne particles can leak in through the sides of the mask

Some studies have failed to show that surgical masks effectively prevent exposure to infectious diseases in community or public settings.

At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended proper usage of medical supplies.

Note:  Healthcare providers and first responders need all kinds of medical supplies, and there’s currently a shortage of them. Keep this in mind the next time you’re on the verge of wasting any of it.


Improving Mask Quality | How To Use Face Masks For A Long Time

Once the mask is positioned securely, there are certain precautions to keep in mind to ensure you don’t transfer pathogens to your face or hands. It’s important to remove the face mask correctly to ensure you don’t transfer any germs to your hands or face. You also want to make sure you discard the mask safely, if future usage feels unacceptable.

What about masks that are manufactured to last longer than typical surgical masks?

N95 respirators are form-fitted to the size and shape of your face. Because they fit your face more snugly, there’s less opportunity for airborne particles to leak in around the sides of the mask.

N95s can also filtrate small airborne particles more effectively, says CDC.

The key to an effective N95 is to ensure that it fits your face correctly. Healthcare practitioners who provide direct patient care are fit-tested annually by a qualified professional to be sure their N95 fits them snugly.

A properly fitted N95 respirator usually filtrates pathogens in the air much better than a surgical mask. Respirators that have been carefully tested and certified to carry the N95 designation can block up to 95 percent of tiny (0.3 micron) test particles. But they also have their limitations.


Lifecycle And Precaution

N95 masks last longer. You can use them for months if you’re careful, but there’s a little hitch.

Due to the pandemic crisis, there has been a huge price-hike for these masks.

Although N95s are pretty good when it comes to limiting exposure, a  2016 review found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks when used by healthcare workers.
To prevent transmission of acute respiratory infections in all settings, WHO recommends masks as a guard against direct exposure. Their stance on maskusage and maskcategorization remains an essential practice to protect communities from one another. Since we’re trying to understand how to use face masks – both surgical and N95 – for a long time, just listen:

How To Use Face Masks For A Long Time?

Whether it is a surgical mask or an N95 respirator,

  • Keep it clean by rinsing in lukewarm water, or running water for about 20 seconds

Having the right place to keep your stash of masks is essential.

  • If you’re a family of more than 2 people, assign separate containers – or just paper bags – to each individual and use them for storing masks.

If you’re unsure about whether your mask container or place is clean or not,

  • Mix together one table-spoon of Dettol and a cup of water and pour it into a spraying bottle. This is what you can call a homemade disinfectant. Spray the place where you store your masks; this ensures cleanliness and re-usability.

  • Using sanitizer bottles as content for the spray mixture will have the same effect. It’s up to you!

Note: Although face masks may help reduce the spread of some disease-causing organisms, evidence suggests that re-using face masks may not always protect you or others from exposure to certain pathogens.

The WHO will continue to provide the world with advice based on the “most up-to-date evidence”, as part of its commitment to serving the world with “science, solutions, and solidarity”, but certain measures can only be accommodated at a personal level.

Well, there you have it guys! This was all about how to use face masks for a long time. We added some extra info for the sake of spreading public-safety precautions to keep each other safe and healthy. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the comment section below.

Good luck and stay safe!

Written by Ahsan Gardezi

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