Re-use refers back to the follow of utilizing the identical N95 respirator by one HCP for a number of encounters with totally different sufferers however eradicating it (i.e. doffing) after every encounter. This follow is sometimes called “limited reuse” as a result of restrictions are in place to restrict the variety of occasions the identical respirator is reused. It is vital to seek the advice of with the respirator producer relating to the utmost variety of donnings or makes use of they advocate for the N95 respirator mannequin. If no producer steering is obtainable, information counsel limiting the variety of reuses to not more than 5 makes use of per gadget to make sure an sufficient security margin.1 N95 and different disposable respirators shouldn’t be shared by a number of HCP. CDC has recommended guidance on implementation of restricted re-use of N95 respirators in healthcare settings.
For pathogens for which contact transmission shouldn’t be a priority, routine restricted reuse of single-use disposable respirators has been practiced for many years. For instance, for tuberculosis prevention, a respirator categorized as disposable will be reused by the identical supplier so long as the respirator maintains its structural and practical integrity. If reuse have to be carried out in occasions of shortages, HCP may very well be inspired to reuse their N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with tuberculosis illness first.
Limited re-use of N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with COVID-19 may additionally turn into vital. However, it’s unknown what the potential contribution of contact transmission is for SARS-CoV-2, and warning ought to be used. Re-use ought to be carried out in line with CDC guidance. Re-use has been advisable as an choice for conserving respirators throughout earlier respiratory pathogen outbreaks and pandemics. During occasions of disaster, working towards restricted re-use whereas additionally implementing prolonged use will be thought-about. It may additionally be essential to re-use N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with varicella or measles, though contact transmission poses a threat to HCP who implement this follow. Ideally, N95 respirators shouldn’t be re-used by HCP who look after sufferers with COVID-19 then look after different sufferers with varicella, measles, and tuberculosis, and vice versa.
Respirators grossly contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or different bodily fluids from sufferers ought to be discarded. HCP can think about using a face protect or facemask over the respirator to scale back/forestall contamination of the N95 respirator. HCP re-using an N95 respirators ought to use a clear pair of gloves when donning or adjusting a beforehand worn N95 respirator. It is vital to discard gloves and carry out hand hygiene after the N95 respirator is donned or adjusted.
The surfaces of a correctly donned and functioning NIOSH-approved N95 respirator will turn into contaminated with pathogens whereas filtering the inhalation air of the wearer throughout exposures to pathogen laden aerosols. The pathogens on the filter supplies of the respirator could also be transferred to the wearer upon contact with the respirator throughout actions comparable to adjusting the respirator, improper doffing of the respirator, or when performing a user-seal test when redonnng a beforehand worn respirator. One efficient technique to mitigate the contact switch of pathogens from the respirator to the wearer may very well be to challenge every HCP who could also be uncovered to COVID-19 sufferers a minimal of 5 respirators. Each respirator shall be used on a specific day and saved in a breathable paper bag till the following week. This will end in every employee requiring a minimal of 5 N95 respirators in the event that they placed on, take off, look after them, and retailer them correctly every day. This period of time in between makes use of ought to exceed the 72 hour anticipated survival time for SARS-CoV2 (the virus that brought on COVID-19).3 HCP ought to nonetheless deal with the respirator as if it’s nonetheless contaminated and comply with the precautions outlined in CDC’s re-use recommendations.
Respirator producers might present steering for respirator decontamination. At current, there are not any typically authorized strategies for N95 and different disposable respirator decontamination previous to re-use. Additional steering on potential strategies could also be discovered here.