My sister called out of her car the other day to me and said ‘you don’t need your mask on now’. She’s smart, informed, and was wrong. I think this is a testament to how hard this all really is – you can’t smart your way out of this thing in the way we’re used to doing.
We have information coming from all fronts infused with what we think makes sense. We have what we want to be true competing with what is. And sorting it all out has actually proven really difficult, especially given how what we know evolves with what we learn about COVID-19.
Part of what Nurse Disrupted does is look across the evolving science and help our organizations put it into practice. We do the lift, and that’s a full time effort.
Last night while screening at The Porchlight adult male shelter a seasoned volunteer asked me a question she has asked repeatedly. How many times can I wear my N95 mask?
Right away I’ll point you to the NIOSH page which cites that 5 uses per device (N95 mask), given the front of the mask is not touched, is an adequate safety margin if the manufacturer’s guidance is not available.
But different date ranges have been cited. When I worked in hospitals prior to the pandemic we threw out our disposable PPE after every use. When hospitals early pandemic more broadly started extended use policies there was confusion and fear. Early on guidance was being given around 3 uses. Then there is the process by which you count uses. She asked about date ranges – does it matter when the first use is?
It is a great question and at this time CDC does not give guidance outside of total uses. These aren’t questions we can just figure out. We’re committed to doing that for you.
Hang in there,