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Coronavirus: This could be the best way to disinfect and reuse N95 masks

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Last updated on – Sep 30, 2020, 11:00 ISTclose01/5The best way to disinfect and reuse N95 masksMasks are considered to be an essential accessory right now. While any kind of face-covering could garner some level of protection from the harmful COVID causing virus, N95 masks, experts suggest are the best ones to use.N95, though one of the safest ones are not really reusable. Even though the use can be extended, it’s not really recommended to prolong the use of one N95 mask, which could fuel contamination and also trap active viruses in the fabric.Healthcare and essential workers, who, too, are being made to reuse masks because of the shortage of supply, are exposing themselves to risk.The surging pandemic has also led to a sudden surge in queries regarding the proper wear, care and disinfection of masks, particularly N95 ones. In light of that, scientists have come up with a new way of “disinfecting” and prolonging the use of masks right now, which could be a big breakthrough.readmore02/5How can you safely reuse a N95 mask?Scientists out of Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University and the University of Texas Medical Branch have now found a new technique, which could allow the masks to get disinfected and make it safer for reuse.According to researchers, something simple as ‘heating’ the mask could relatively disinfect the virus, and help recycle them for further use.The strategy, which researchers feel which definitely help healthcare workers at a time like this could lessen the shortage problem and not contribute to the pandemic pollution as well.“You can imagine each doctor or nurse having their own personal collection of up to a dozen masks. The ability to decontaminate several of these masks while they are having a coffee break will lessen the chance that masks contaminated with COVID-19 viruses would expose other patients,” a senior physicist, Steven Chu, an author of the above study said in a statement.readmore03/5Will heating kills the SARS-COV-2 virus?While there are no studies yet to confirm the reaction of the novel coronavirus in contact with high temperatures, scientists based out of Stanford University devised a novel way of combining heat and humidity to decontaminate and inactive the viruses at large.Conducting the experiment in a safe environment, scientists mimicked real-life situations by mixing up SARS-COV-2 strains in liquids like the fluids which come out of our mouth while a person coughs, sneezes or breathes.The droplet solution was then made to air dry on a special meltdown polypropylene fibres fabric, which is also used in the making of N95 masks and then heated at different temperature settings, for 30 minutes.readmore04/5N95 masks could be extended for use by decontaminating the fabricIt was observed that the environment with high humidity and heat was able to reduce the virus load on the fabric. However, extreme heat reduced the mask’s sensitivity to filter out germs and viruses.The best temperature, for ‘cooking’ and rooting out the viruses turned out to be 85-degree Celcius, with 100% relative humidity. Scientists were able to observe zero trace of the COVID causing virus after sample masks were treated under the given environment.Additionally, it was also observed that the method would decontaminate the mask, and make it suitable for use upto 20 times, which could potentially help save resources.Further, the virus killing technology could also be useful to combat other types of viruses known to infect humans- including the fairly common cold virus and chikungunya.readmore05/5How can you safely take care of your masks?Mask-wearing is essential during the times of the pandemic but it’s also important to sterilize and disinfect your masks before and after use. It’s also important to keep them safely, at home so that you prevent the risk of unnecessary exposure.-Always wash your hands with a disinfecting solution before and after use. Use sanitizer when the former is not available.-Use the strings of the mask to tie or untie the mask. Do not touch the front portion.-Ensure it fits snugly over your mouth. A good mask should cover your nose, mouth and let you breathe properly.-You can also consider the use of an additional face shield or covering to prevent the risk of contamination, especially in a crowded public place, or a high-risk environment.Storage is also a crucial aspect. Hang your used masks to “dry” them in a specially designated area, or keep them stored in breathable pouches, such as paper bags between uses. readmore
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