KN95 masks have a limited lifespan | Public Service News

CANTON – KN95 masks can be reused outside of healthcare or other high risk settings, but not for very long and they must undergo one of three specific disinfection methods between uses. Otherwise, they can only be used once.

Residents of the north of the country may have recently received a KN95 through their local municipalities of state allocations.

Health officials say the omicron variant of the coronavirus is so contagious that traditional fabric masks or fabric face covers may not be enough to prevent person-to-person transmission. The recommendation is to use a KN95 or N95 as they are designed to filter small particles from the air via electrostatic charge.

St. Lawrence County Emergency Services recently received 48,000 KN95 masks from New York State for municipalities and the City of Ogdensburg to distribute to residents. The inhabitants of the village can obtain a mask from their respective municipalities. Of the 48,000 masks, the emergency services gave 15,000 to EMS teams and the rest was distributed to municipalities, depending on the population.

“I have applied for an additional 48,000 and am awaiting a response on this,” said Matthew R. Denner, director of emergency services for St. Lawrence County. “The local schools have all reached out. They were asking for it.

The difference between the KN95 and N95 masks is that the KN95 is made to Chinese respirator standards, and the N95 meets US NIOSH respirator standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

3M, the company that makes N95, released a fact sheet in 2020 that N95 and KN95 offer equivalent protection. Visit to read the full fact sheet.

For people in high-risk clinical or healthcare settings, especially those who come in contact with known or suspected COVID-19 patients, the Emergency Care Research Institute says KN95 masks can be inadequate.

“Although the majority of imported KN95 masks do not meet the N95 standard of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),” according to an ECRI article from September 2020, “researchers from ECRI state that KN95 can be used in place of a surgical intervention or mask procedure for activities involving limited contact with bodily fluids (as KN95s are not designed to repel fluids), and they may provide superior respiratory protection, however, ECRI warns US healthcare organizations to use KN95 or other non-NIOSH-certified masks only as a last resort when treating known or suspected COVID-19 patients. “

“KN95 masks that do not meet US regulatory standards still offer more respiratory protection than surgical or cloth masks and can be used in certain clinical settings,” said Michael Argentieri, vice president for technology and safety at ECRI, in the article. “Hospitals and staff who treat patients with suspected COVID-19 should be aware that imported masks may not meet current US regulatory standards despite marketing that says otherwise. “

Visit to read ECRI’s full article.

For everyday users, KN95s can be reused for up to a week, if properly stored and handled, according to an article on Anyone working in a healthcare setting shouldn’t use them for more than a day, according to For people using a KN95 outside of healthcare settings, the article says to make sure it is removed with clean hands and to avoid touching the inside and outside of the mask, where virus particles may have accumulated. They should be stored in a paper bag or hard plastic container with the lid loose to prevent condensation.

“Keep it away from anything you touch,” Jade Flinn, nurse educator for Johns Hopkins Medicine’s biocontainment unit, told “Putting it in a paper bag so that it is covered and doesn’t mix with other things can help, as well as help it dry out. “

Visit to read the full story of

According to the National Institutes of Health, N95 respirator masks can be reused up to three times. Between uses, they say masks should be decontaminated with one of three specific methods. The website states that the NIH decontamination recommendations are also effective with a KN95.

The most effective method, according to the NIH, is to use hydrogen peroxide sprayed on the mask for 10 minutes. The other methods involve exposing the mask to dry heat of 158 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or hitting the mask with ultraviolet light for an hour. One way to use the dry heat method is to use an oven. Do not use a microwave because of the metal strip inside the mask that goes around the nose. The NIH recommends checking the tightness and fit after using dry heat or ultraviolet light.

Visit to read the full NIH article. For the article, visit

Anyone looking to purchase quantities of N95 or KN95 masks can find them at, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and organizations avoid spending money on fraudulent personal protective equipment.

Project N95 also sells other items of PPE, as well as home PCR tests for COVID-19. A PCR test is a molecular test that is more sensitive than rapid antigen tests, the type sold without a prescription. Rapid tests generally work well for people with symptoms. Health officials recommend that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 whose rapid antigen test is negative take a PCR test to confirm.

Project N95 home PCR tests should be sent to a lab for results. They cost $ 99 each. Testing at New York State sites is free. Tests are also free in many hospital systems, including Santé Saint-Laurent.

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