What do I do if I don’t have enough N95/FFP masks including reuse and extended use guidelines?

Respirators such as the N95 or FFP keep airborne germs out of our respiratory systems effectively, but these are in short supply everywhere during the coronavirus pandemic.

To optimize what supplies are available, respirators should be prioritized for use in aerosol-generating procedures (AGP)-patient contacts where the virus could be dispersed as miniscule droplets. Respirators can be reused or used for extended periods of time, but the decision to do this should be based on the pathogen (e.g., how it spreads, how prevalent it is in the community) and by local conditions (e.g., availability of respirators).

Extended use (wearing the respirator continuously between patients) is a better option than reuse (using the same respirator but taking it off/doffing and then putting it back on/donning between patients) because it involves less touching of the mask and thus less of a chance to spread disease. Wearing a respirator for more than 4 hours can be uncomfortable and is not recommended. Any respirator must be replaced when it is damaged, dirty, or interferes with breathing.

Many ideas about reusing N05 respirators have appeared online of various degrees of reliability, usefulness, and practicality. Our team is looking at those online resources and has found a few that we feel are the most reliable and practical. Other online resources we found are also listed below.


Make sure you replace the N95 if it is damaged, dirty, or interferes with breathing.


These are the TOP resources that our team found

To leave a comment about one of the resource links below, or to leave a comment about this page, please use the commenting form found at the bottom of the page. All comments are only visible to members of our staff and do not appear publicly. You can also upvote a link by clicking on the thumbs-up icon next to it.


OTHER RESOURCES

To leave a comment about one of the resource links below, or to leave a comment about this page, please use the commenting form found at the bottom of the page. All comments are only visible to members of our staff and do not appear publicly. You can also upvote a link by clicking on the thumbs-up icon next to it.


Sources Searched: CDC website, WHO website, NIOSH website, and articles cited within relevant resources.

Search Terms: respirator, N95, FFP, guidelines, recommendations, guidance

Research on coronavirus and COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. This page reflects evidence collected up to May 29, 2020.


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