Coronavirus: Can You Reuse a Disposable Face Mask?

May 12, 2020

Face masks are a vital part of protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing face coverings to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

When it comes to finding face masks, people are still struggling to keep up with the short supply.

The critical question is, can disposable face masks be re-worn? Today reported that experts say you can as long as you take care of them correctly.

Dr. Lucian Davis, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, said that the most important thing you can do is not touch your face. She also explained how touching your face mask could "transfer particles onto the surface."

If you do end up touching your mask, Davis said to wash your hands with soap and water or with alcohol.

"If you need to remove it, do it in a safe place where you're not close to others," Davis said.

To safely remove masks, use the ear straps to remove them without touching the surface of the mask. Davis said the majority of the gems would be on the front of the mask.

Once the mask is safely removed from your face, it should be placed in a safe storage area.

Jade Flinn, MSN, the nurse educator for the Biocontainment Unit at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that she has been placing her face masks in paper bags or other "clean receptacles" with "good ventilation" that allow the masks to "air out."

Davis also recommended that people use a Ziploc bag or plastic Tupperware container for storage purposes.

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