Can a medical mask be reused?

Can a medical mask be reused?

The medical mask can be worn for not more than 2-3 hours. Then the inside becomes wet and ideal for bacteria to generate. In this case, the mask must be carefully removed without touching the base outer surface and discarded. It turns out that you need at least 3-4 masks a day? Could not they be reused, for example, ironed for disinfection? Many people think about this.

If we ignore couch experts and refer to the opinion of real experts, the situation is approximately as follows. The World Health Organization (WHO) makes it clear that disposable masks cannot be reused.

We have studied some other authoritative sources, but have not found official information anywhere that medical masks can be ironed or washed and reused.

But we have found a TASS publication, which says, with reference to American researchers, that medical masks can be reused after sterilization.

The effectiveness of sterilizing medical masks for reuse has been proven by experts from the US National Institutes of Health. They shared the study results on the medical organization’s website.

Scientists have tried to find out how various sterilization methods neutralize the coronavirus infection. During the tests, they checked the most effective methods and effect thereof on the safety of the mask itself after the procedure. In total, four methods of sterilization were studied using ultraviolet radiation, dry hot air, hydrogen peroxide vapor and ethyl alcohol. All these have proven to be effective in combating coronavirus.

However, researchers still do not advise using alcohol, since it destroys the very material from which the mask is made. The respirator becomes unusable after two treatments. Ultraviolet radiation and dry hot air damage the material after three treatments, so the mask can be reused twice.

The most effective sterilization method was hydrogen peroxide vapor: the mask was usable even after three treatments. In addition, this method takes only 10 minutes for the mask to be disinfected, whereas ultraviolet radiation or dry hot air can cope with this task in an hour.

However, no experiments should be conducted with these at home. Let’s listen to the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor: a disposable mask cannot be reused and is unacceptable to wash, let alone dry on a battery.

How to wear a mask correctly?

The mask should fit tight against the face, completely cover the nose, mouth and chin.

If there is a sewn-in clip at the nose area, it must be firmly pressed against the ridge of the nose. If the mask has special folds, they must be smoothened.

The mask must not be touched with the hands. After touching it (if it is necessary to remove or fix it), the hands must be washed with soap or wiped with a disinfectant solution.

It is prohibited to reuse the disposable mask, as after use the mask itself is infected. It is not allowed to wear the mask around the neck or in the pocket in between wearing.

If the mask becomes wet, it must be changed immediately, regardless of how long it is used.

The time of wearing a disposable mask is not more than two hours (unless otherwise indicated in the instructions for use), and a reusable mask can be worn max three hours. A used disposable mask must be immediately placed in a plastic bag and discarded.

If you are using a homemade reusable mask, it should have at least 4 layers of gauze. After use, it must be also placed in a plastic bag. Used gauze masks must be soaked for one hour in a 2% soap solution (100 g of soap per 2 liters of water), boiled for 15 minutes, rinsed thoroughly, dried and ironed on both sides.

Don’t ignore the wearing of the mask!

Correct use of the product helps to minimize the spread of viral diseases!