How Long Can I Wear the N95 Mask?

N95 Mask

Healthcare practitioners have recommended the N95 mask as the most effective protection against COVID-19 and its variants. In addition to getting your COVID vaccination, you need to ensure that you wear a BNX N95 mask Amazon for better protection. 

In the past, these masks were rare to find, hence expensive. As a result, most people reused the same mask for a long time. The issue was so paramount that health officials released guidelines on using the masks. The reduced cost of N95 translates to fewer people reusing the same respirator for a long time. 

How many times can I reuse the N95 mask?

Generally, the mask is most protective when you first wear it. Subsequent use translates to lower levels of protection. You should not use it more than five times on different occasions. And when reusing the mask, you must properly sanitize it before wearing it.

The level of protection for an N95 respirator is higher than that of a face mask. However, its design is such that it loses effectiveness when you wear it more than once. Similar to the surgical mask, these disposable options may typically require you to discard them after use. The CDC guideline of 2020 allowed for reusing under particular circumstances due to masks shortage then. 

Most chief healthcare professionals do not believe that reusing N95 masks is a position that the CDC agrees to. That comes from the fact that doctors normally sanitize these respirators using UV light and peroxide gas. On the other hand, patients generally relied on unconventional sanitizing methods like putting in an oven.

Do not wear your N95 mask more than five times

The best scenario for wearing your N95 face mask is doing so once. Nonetheless, if you have to reuse it, do not do so more than five times. Going more than five times can be too many and exposes you to risks rather than keeping you safe. 

Why should you not wear the mask multiple times, you may ask? Well, the respirator relies on proper fitting as one way to keep you safe. The elasticity loses with each use. That means it would reach a point where properly fitting the respirator on your face becomes almost impossible, rendering it ineffective. 

Skip reusing the mask when you are at high risk of COVID-19 infections. Similarly, all people in high-risk environments such as high-traffic public buildings, retirement homes, and hospitals should not wear the mask again after first use. Such environments face the highest risk of COVID-19 variants like SARS-CoV-2, which only effective respirators can handle. 

Should you clean the N95 mask to reuse it?

You may be tempted to clean your mask by heating it in a dry oven or boiling it in plastic straps. Doing so is highly discouraged because it damages the mask’s construction in addition to starting a fire. 

The easiest and safest approach is to secure the mask in a dry paper bag and leave it for five days after use. The viruses will have died during this period, allowing you to reuse the mask. Be cautious not to mix used masks with clean ones.

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