How to Properly Use The KN95 Face Mask?
What are KN95 masks: -
COVID-19 has caused a great increase in the demand for PPE. Respirator KN95 face mask and other critical protective equipment have been stocked by people in great amounts. Hospital staff has been forced to make PPE out of plastic garbage bags and bandannas for face masks.
Amid such crisis, on 3rd of April, 2020 FDA allowed the use of KN95 face masks. These are same as the US standard N95 masks however; KN95 masks are of Chinese origin. They filter out 95% of airborne particles. These masks are not resistant to oil. With its five-layered design the mask provides a superior level of protection against harmful germs, bacteria and viruses.
How to wear KN95 Face mask: -
Take out the respirator mask from its packaging while holding it with straps facing upwards. Open the top and bottom panels completely. Bend the nosepiece around your thumb at the center of the foam. As they panel open the straps will be separated. The bottom panel should be completely open as it is unfolded. Now you have to put on the respirator on your face with the foam on your nose and bottom panel below your chin. Pull the top strap above your head bringing it to the back of your head.
Related: Reasons To Wear KN 95 Face Mask
Likewise pull the bottom strap over your head bringing it to the back of your neck. Ensure you pull the straps untwisted so that they do not cause any discomfort. Adjust the nosepiece according to your face with your fingertips. This will help you get a firm seal around the nose. Push inwards while moving down the sides of the nosepiece.
Use both your hands for adjusting the nosepiece as doing that with one hand will lead to inaccurate fit making the respirator less effective. Make sure you conduct user seal check by cupping hands over the respirator without disturbing its position. Now breathe in and breathe out sharply. If you notice any air leak, adjust the nosepiece and strings accordingly to ensure it does not happen again.
Cleaning and disinfection instructions for KN95 masks: -
It is very difficult to clean KN 95 respirator mask as you have to inactivate the virus without hampering the filtration quality of the mask. Similarly, the fit of mask should not be impacted. When the supplies are plentiful the mask should ideally be replaced after single use. However, under current scenario cleaning and disinfection guidelines are issued if anyone is forced to reuse the KN95 masks.
Vaporized hydrogen peroxide is known to penetrate the layers of the mask and kill the virus without hampering the mask. Other than this, heating the mask at 70 degrees Celsius for about half an hour can disinfect the mask. Some hospitals in the USA are using UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) to disinfect the masks.
It must be noted here that there is no option of washing the mask with alcohol, aerosol or soapy water. You must not boil or steam the mask either. This is because it will disintegrate the filter of mask making it ineffective to serve the purpose.
Reusing KN95 Face masks: -
Although intended for single use, CDC has issued guidelines with regard to reuse of KN95 masks amid the shortage. However, there is no particular length of time defined by CDC as how many times you can reuse the mask. It depends entirely on the condition of mask and your own assessment. If the mask is visibly contaminated, spoiled or distorted it cannot be reused and should be discarded.