What do I do if I don’t have enough surgical masks?

Surgical (medical) masks are important infection control measures for coronavirus in healthcare settings, but they are currently in short supply worldwide.

Use the right type of PPE for the situation—in the case of a pandemic, it’s important to prioritize surgical masks for use in many settings rather than respirators (N95 or FFP). Surgical masks should be saved for healthcare settings and COVID patients-see our panel on making a cloth mask for information on how to make cloth face covers for the general public.

When supplies run low, CDC guidelines say surgical masks can be worn for an extended period of time or reused between patients if certain steps are followed. Remove and store masks carefully to prevent cross-contamination. Inspect masks regularly for holes or wear.

Many ideas about reusing medical masks 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.


Reuse is not recommended but may be needed when supplies are critically low.


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, WHO, Google, and references from relevant resources

Search Terms: surgical mask, medical mask, facemask AND coronavirus, COVID

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


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