With the global Covid-19 pandemic everywhere in the news, many healthcare professionals and concerned citizens are grappling with the shortage of respirator masks, vital tools for ensuring that healthcare workers are not infected by the people they’re trying to help. There has also been a large amount of confusion from the general public about what types of masks are useful for what, as many people are considering wearing masks in public for the first time due to news coverage about the Coronavirus.
In this blog post, we will briefly explain the various types of masks useful for infection control, and the different procedures available to help reduce some of the risk involved with the reuse of masks and respirators. None of the methods found remove all risk associated with mask reuse.
Broadly, there are three different types of masks usable for infection control:
- Surgical Masks
- Elastomeric Respirators (1).
- N95 Type Respirator Masks
Of these three types, only some Elastomeric Respirators are designed for steam sterilization in an autoclave – neither Surgical Masks nor N95 Masks are designed for steam sterilization.
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