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Know About Proper Usage, Disposal And Reuse Of Mask

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have been and continue to be extremely important components to ensure safety and protection from contamination. Due to the increased demand for masks worldwide, the market is going through a shortage of masks even though using masks is essential. Hence, it is important for all of us to now how to use a mask the right way and also how to reuse masks so that we don’t have to buy new masks and not be affected even if there is a shortage of masks in the market.

Just using the masks is not enough, we must learn to use masks in the right and most sustainable way. Besides using your mask the right way, we must maintain hand hygiene by frequently sanitising our hands with alcohol-based sanitizers or soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Both the measures are equally important to ensure maximum protection against virus contamination. It is also equally important to sanitise frequently touched surfaces. We also have to avoid touching our eyes, face, nose and mouth and discard used tissues immediately after using them.

The masks must be worn in a manner such that the mask fits snugly around the nose while completely covering the nose and the mouth. Masks cannot be left hanging loose around the neck because that is of no use and gives no protection against contamination. Avoid touching the front surface of the mask because that is the section that is contaminated. The most common types of masks being used by people all around the world would include cloth masks, 3 layered surgical masks, and N95 respirator.

  • Cloth Masks- Cloth masks are not to be used by infected patients because these masks do not provide adequate protection from contamination but wearing a cloth masks is far better than not wearing a mask at all.
  • Surgical Masks- Surgical masks are loose-fitting and disposable that can be effective in blocking particles, droplets, splashes, and sprays which may contain germs or the virus itself. People with symptoms like as cough, sneezing and fever, healthcare providers, and frontline workers should use surgical masks.
  • N95 respirators- N95 respirators are not made for routine use for the general public. It is made from polypropylene and they efficiently filter out at least 95% of very small particles.

How to dispose used masks?

Cloth masks- Cloth masks need to be washed and air-dried thoroughly and properly, as often as possible, to be able to re-use the cloth masks.

Surgical Masks- The surgical masks, after being used, are to be folded half inwards and further folded into another half inwards till the masks becomes a roll. You can then wrap the mask with its ear loops so that the roll does not open. Then the mask is to wrapped in a tissue paper and disposed in waste bags.

N95 Respirator- Hold the edge of the straps while taking off the N95 mask so that you do not touch the inside part of the mask. Place the mask in a plastic bag or zip-lock bag and secure the bag tightly and dispose the bag into the garbage.

Which Masks can you Re-use and How?

Cloth Masks – You can properly wash, disinfect, and dry your cloth masks so that you can easily reuse them.

Surgical Masks- If your mask in intact, you can reuse your surgical mask for up to three days, by placing it a zip lock pouch with a desiccated gel. The gel absorbs the moisture and keeps the mask dry.

N95 respirator- When reusing the N95 respirator, the used mask is to be left in the dry atmosphere for 3-4 days to let it dry out. Polypropylene in N95 is hydrophobic and contains zero moisture. Best is to use four N95 masks and number them 1-4. On day 1 use mask 1, then let it dry for 3-4 days, and follow the sequence.

If the general public, as well as health care workers, adhere to all the recommended precautions, the rapid spread of the virus can be prevented while keeping both ourselves and the people around us safe and healthy. Using masks is important and using the right masks the right way is necessary. If you’re looking for a Covid 19 test lab in Howrah, or a RT-PCR test lab in Kolkata, LASCO Medicare is the right Diagnostic Centre in Howrah for you.

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