How Long Do I Need To Change My N95 Mask?

22 Nov.,2021

N95 masks provide tight protection, but there will be a noticeable stuffy feeling after wearing them for a long time.


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N95 masks provide tight protection, but there will be a noticeable stuffy feeling after wearing them for a long time. Wang Yuetan, a professor of immunology at Peking University School of Basic Medicine, reminds that when wearing an N95 mask, it should not be worn for more than 4 hours at a time. If the N95 mask is used continuously for a long time, it will cause lung damage and may lead to problems such as emphysema.

Zong Zhiyong and Wang Yantong, experts from the Department of Infection Management at West China Hospital of Sichuan University, recommend not to give N95 masks to children under 7 years old, even if they are N95 masks with special air valve design, because the breathing resistance will be too great and children will have the risk of suffocation.


Can N95 masks be reused?

At present, foreign countries, including WHO, have no clear conclusion on the best time to wear N95 masks, and China has not yet made relevant regulations on the use time of masks.

Some studies have shown that when N95 masks are worn for 2 days, the filtration efficiency remains above 95% and the breathing resistance does not change much; when worn for 3 days the filtration efficiency decreases to 94.7%.

Some researchers suggest that in the absence of an adequate supply of masks, reuse can be considered as long as the device is not significantly soiled or damaged (e.g., creased or torn).


In the following cases, promptly replace the N95 mask 

1. The mask is broken or damaged

2. Respiratory resistance increases significantly

3. When the mask has been used in individual wards or patient contact (because the mask has been contaminated)

4. The mask does not fit well to the face

5. When the mask is contaminated (e.g. with blood stains or foreign matter such as droplets)


N95 mask wearing precautions

1. Distinguish the inside and outside of the mask and the top and bottom; the N95 mask has a printed side for the outside; the end of the metal strip/sponge strip is the top of the mask.

2. Wash your hands before wearing the mask, or avoid touching the inner side of the mask during the process of wearing the mask to reduce the possibility of the mask being contaminated.

3. Be sure to try to make the mask and the face have a good fit. A simple test method is: after wearing the mask, exhale hard and the air cannot leak out from the edge of the mask.

4. Do not use your hands to squeeze the mask, including the N95 mask, can only isolate the virus in the mask surface, if you squeeze the mask with your hands, so that the virus with droplets wet through the mask, there is still a chance of virus infection.


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