NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It is a federal agency that is responsible for researching the disease or illness. It recommends different ways to prevent an injury or illness. It is under CDC — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The headquarters of NIOSH is in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to that, NIOSH puts products through hard testing for the public. If NIOSH clears these products, these products are approved for use, and they are good for the public. Hence, the public should buy those products without any hesitation.
The N95 respirator is a respiratory protection device that effectively works at the filtration of injurious airborne particles. The N95 respirator can effectively filter out harmful airborne particles of 0.3 microns, and it is 95 percent effective at the filtration of hazardous airborne particles. The N95 respirator has become an effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to combat the novel coronavirus. The N95 respirator is efficient at the filtration of aerosols as well. In addition to that, the N95 respirator is the safest Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for keeping an individual safe.
NIOSH has approved the use of N95 respirators because of its effectiveness. It put the N95 respirator through rigorous testing to determine its effectiveness. After passing those tests, the N95 respirator approved the product because it was effective. There are things NIOSH has said about reusing the N95 respirator. The one thing they made clear to the public was that a new N95 respirator is always more effective than a reused N95 respirator.
It does not matter how many times you decontaminate an N95 respirator. The effectiveness of a reused N95 respirator would always be inferior to a new N95 respirator. However, it does not mean a reused N95 respirator cannot combat the novel coronavirus. It can fight off the novel coronavirus and keep an individual safe from inhaling the injurious airborne particles. Therefore, an individual should use a used N95 respirator if they do not have one. It is a relatively better option than wearing nothing.
NIOSH says that several factors come into play if you reuse an N95 respirator. If an N95 respirator has been used during aerosol-generating procedures, the wearer should discard it. If an infected individual touches your N95 respirator, you should dispose of your N95 respirator as a precautionary measure as it could lead to the spread of this fatal virus — which is COVID-19. If an N95 respirator has been contaminated with a patient's fluids or blood, the N95 respirator must be thrown in the dustbin.
There are several risks of reusing N95 respirators. If an N95 respirator’s surface has been contaminated with contagious viruses, the best thing to do is not to reuse that N95 respirator as you could end up spreading the virus among your near and dear ones. Harmful aerosols and injurious airborne particles could be transmitted to someone’s hands if they touch the N95 respirator. That could spread the virus as well. Therefore, the best thing is to dispose of the N95 respirator.
If you have accidentally touched the surface of an N95 respirator, you should cleanse your hands after coming in contact with the N95 respirator. Moreover, you should dispose of the N95 respirator in that case as well. If your N95 respirator has been damaged, you should discard it. In addition to that, if your N95 respirator has become hard or if it becomes hard for you to breathe because of the N95 respirator, you should discard it. These are some conditions for disposing of the N95 respirator.
NIOSH says that an N95 respirator can be reused by the wearer. Reuse means using a used respirator again. There are some ways to decontaminate an N95 respirator. However, an individual should not harshly clean the N95 respirator. The N95 respirator should be handled gently. While cleaning the N95 respirator, the individual must gently treat the N95 respirator. The individual should wear gloves since he will have to touch the contaminated N95 respirator to clean it.
The wearer has to decontaminate the N95 respirator in such a way so that it does not get damaged. While cleaning it, the wearer must not harshly touch the surface of the N95 respirator. The wearer has to decontaminate the N95 respirator in such a way so that the shape of the N95 respirator does not deform. Decontamination means cleaning the N95 respirator and removing contaminants, bacteria, dirt, and a plethora of foreign dust from the surface of the N95 respirator.
In addition to that, there are several ways to decontaminate an N95 respirator. Those methods include dry heat treatment, steam treatment, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. NIOSH has advised wearing surgical gloves while sterilizing the N95 respirator. Dry heat treatment and steam treatment are easy ways to decontaminate an N95 respirator. The public can use these decontamination methods to decontaminate the N95 respirator. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation requires heavy equipment. Therefore, big healthcare facilities can use ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to decontaminate the N95 respirator.
NIOSH says that the N95 respirator should be decontaminated, but it must be sterilized a few times. While cleaning the N95 respirator, an individual must wear gloves. There are several methods to decontaminate an N95 respirator like dry heat treatment, steam treatment, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, etc.