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Is it Ever Okay to Reuse a Disposable Mask?


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With the Centers for Disease Control recommending we all wear face masks when in public areas, many people are questioning whether they can reuse a disposable face mask after they’ve worn it?

According to TODAY, the short answer is “yes” – but you must follow certain important steps.

“Number one: Don’t touch your mask,” said Dr. Lucian Davis, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health who studies respiratory infections and noted that touching the mask could transfer virus particles onto the surface. “If you do touch your mask, wash [your hands] with soap and water or with alcohol for sure. If you need to remove it, do it in a safe place where you’re not close to others.”

According to TODAY, it’s important to follow these steps if you want to reuse a disposable face mask:

Safely Remove the Mask – use the ear straps to remove and handle the mask to avoid touching the surface where the majority of virus particles would be found.

Store Safely – it’s important to find a safe storage container with Jade Flinn, MSN, telling TODAY she and other coworkers use paper bags or other “clean receptacles” with “good ventilation” to store their masks. Flinn recommends leaving the mask in a clean, contained environment for a few days.

Know When to Trash the Mask – according to TODAY it’s important to know when to throw the mask in the trash. Masks that are visibly soiled, dirty or torn should be thrown out immediately. Health care professionals recommend having a supply of at least three to five masks so one can be worn while the others are decontaminating.

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