KN95 and N95 masks are recommended, but are for single use only.
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — Cloth masks are indeed more economical because they can be used repeatedly. However, experts assess that cloth masks do not provide sufficient protection amid the emergence of the Omicron variant which is more easily transmitted.
Currently, the use of masks KN95 and N95 is more recommended. Both of these masks are intended for single use, so they will cost more than cloth masks.
However, there are ways that can be done to extend the use of KN95 and N95 masks. This method is known as the paper bag method or paper bag method.
This paper bag method is actually a simple way to store masks well until their next use. To do the paper bag method, the first thing that needs to be done is to properly remove the mask that is being used, namely by holding the mask strap area.
Make sure the removed mask does not touch your face or other object surfaces. The next step is to put the mask in a paper bag. After that, fold the top of the paper bag to seal and seal the bag. Leave the mask in a closed paper bag for at least 24 hours.
This method is considered to be able to help the mask dry and prevent contamination. If the mask is contaminated with the virus, the virus is considered to die when the mask is left in a paper bag.
Of course there is no guarantee that the mask will be fully sanitized the second time it is used. Moreover, research shows that SARS-CoV-2 can live on the surface of objects for 72 hours or three days. Even so, the paper bag method is considered to reduce many risks.
“It’s not that the pouch does the magic trick, but rather the process of keeping the mask away from decontaminating other people or surfaces, and also keeping it dry so that the virus doesn’t spread or settle on the mask,” said VeryWell Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Jessica Shepherd, as reported by Reuters. Woman’s World, Monday (10/1/2022).
This paper bag method is not something new. In the early days of the pandemic, some health professionals also used this method due to the limited supply of N95 masks
For now, experts do not recommend health professionals to use N95 mask the same one more than once. However, experts assess that the general public can use KN95 or N95 masks several times using this paper bag method.
There is no definite benchmark on how many times the KN95 and N95 masks can be reused by the general public using the paper bag method. However, do not reuse KN95 or N95 masks if they are dirty, wet, or smelly. These masks should also not be reused if the straps or loop looks loose.