How to disinfect masks to prevent coronavirus

How to disinfect masks is the question that all of Spain (and much of the world) is asking at the moment. It seems that the WHO now sees it wrong that we all wear it on the street , whether we manifest symptoms or not. They have literally said that just because everyone wears a mask “might not be a bad option.” Because of course, true to its style, in these issues the WHO is less wet than a gremlin.

There is only one small problem: the masks are exhausted and there are not even enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for the toilets. Some keep that surgical mask that they got from going to know where at the beginning of the pandemic as gold on cloth. Others, directly, do not have any mask to take to the mouth. The solution in some homes has been to dust the sewing machines and also the imagination (which sometimes has more dust on top of the sewing machine) to create DIY masks. IMPORTANT: It is not entirely clear if it is better to use a cloth mask than not to use it because there are many factors at stake . If someone is thinking of making them, at least follow the CDC manual for making homemade face masks. Spoiler: no need to have a sewing machine

How do we disinfect a cloth mask?

There are no official recommendations for disinfecting cloth masks. According to the CDC, washing in the washing machine should suffice. One idea would be to accept the cleaning recommendations of the Ministry of Health that indicate that the clothes of a patient infected with covid-19 should be washed between 60 and 90 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

How do we disinfect an FFP2 or FFP3 mask?

Filtering masks (not to be confused with surgical ones, the typical blue ones for dentists) are able to prevent the passage of microparticles, protecting us, for example, from allergens such as pollen and even from some vermin like the coronavirus. There are three types, FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3, that filter 78%, 92 and 98% of the particles respectively. What are the masks that are really effective against coronavirus? The WHO recommends FFP2 or FFP3 in isolation procedures. In America they have another nomenclature and the equivalent is N95, which filters 95%.

These masks are for single use and should not be reused, but for lack of anything else, at Stanford they are like crazy investigating to see what can be a good solution. Go ahead that the researchers themselves do not endorse any of the analyzed methods. They simply show the results of their study with which they try to find the best option. These are the conclusions:

– Disinfect masks with heat

– Disinfect masks with ultraviolet radiation

– Disinfect masks with hydrogen peroxide vapor

Conclusions to Stanford mask disinfection studies:

  • The studies carried out have not been carried out in Sars-Cov-2 but in similar studies, therefore it is not possible to draw firm conclusions for covid-19.
  • The studies have been carried out on certain masks, so the conclusions cannot be extended to all masks.
  • Disinfection by applying heat at 75 degrees for 30 minutes seems like a good option but it is not perfect: even if the filtering capacity is not affected, it can affect the way you fit the mask, also supposing a decrease in its effectiveness.

What do other organizations say about mask disinfection?

The ECDCs indicate in their report that steam sterilization is a procedure commonly used in hospitals. But they also point to the same problem, a deformation of the mask or a more faulty fit may occur after steam sterilization at 134 °

In what do all the organisms agree on the sterilization of masks?

If there is a recommendation that is based on evidence, it is that professionals, whether they are healthcare professionals, researchers or other, should not take masks home to disinfect them in the home heat in a casita way. Work centers must be responsible for providing their workers with the appropriate protocols.


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