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    How often can you safely reuse your KN95 or N95 mask?

    How many times can I reuse my mask?

    “Many masks were truly seen as single-use in the ideal environment — or pre-pandemic,” said Michael G. Knight, an assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University. “They do have a little bit more length in terms of the amount of time we can use them,” says the narrator.

    What’s important, according to Knight, is that the mask has “kept its integrity.” Consider how many times and for how long you’ve used it, he said.

    “If I put it on for 45 minutes to go to the grocery store and then take it off, that masks should last a couple of days,” he added.

    However, if you’re wearing a it all day, such as during a lengthy work shift where you might be sweating and talking all day, “then that may not be a mask that I can reuse.”

    What are the best procedures for reusing my mask safely?

    Some experts recommend having several masks on hand so you can switch them out. According to Richard M. Carpiano, a public health scientist and sociologist at the University of California in Riverside, after wearing one mask, you can put it down for a few days before picking it up again.

    He claims that this will give “enough time for any viral particles or virus leftovers to die out.”

    The reason for the rest period between usage is to allow it to dry out and for any viral particles filtered by it to deactivate, according to Knight. He suggested that you rest your mask for 24 to 48 hours.

    However, don’t wear the masks indefinitely. “You want to go on to a fresh one after a few wears,” Carpiano explained.

    Knight has emphasised the importance of washing and sanitising hands after removing it, as well as removing the mask from the ear loops or elastic bands to avoid touching the infected outside of the mask.

    How can I tell when it’s time to replace my mask?

    Examine your mask and decide whether it’s safe to wear based on two primary reasons, according to Knight: its condition and fit.

    It is no longer usable if it has a cut or tear, according to Knight.

    He further said that if the mask is “severely dirty,” it should be discarded.

    If a person sneezed while wearing the mask, “mucus has now invaded the mask, is soiled, and they can no longer be worn.”

    There’s also a difference between a mask with moisture from typical use and one that has been “soaked,” according to Knight.

    “If you chat while wearing a mask, there are microdroplets since our breath contains moisture,” he explained. “Of course, there will be occasional low moisture levels,” says the narrator.

    It’s for this reason that airing out the mask in between uses is beneficial.

    KN95s and N95s, unlike fabric KN95s and N95s, cannot be thoroughly disinfected by ordinary washing, according to experts.

    It’s also important to get the right fit.

    “Perhaps the nose band isn’t as flexible and you’re noticing a gap…” when it no longer seals well around your nose and around your face. “Now is the moment to get rid of it,” Carpiano advised.

    N95s, in particular, are most effective when fit-tested, according to specialists, because they must press securely against your face and form a seal.

    The elastic that holds the masks in place can expand over time.

    “If the masks no longer fits snugly and forms a seal, it’s no longer as effective at filtering the air you’re breathing.”

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