Re-use refers back to the apply of utilizing the identical N95 respirator by one HCP for a number of encounters with totally different sufferers however eradicating it (i.e. doffing) after every encounter. This apply is sometimes called “restricted reuse” as a result of restrictions are in place to restrict the variety of occasions the identical respirator is reused.2 Re-use has been really useful as an possibility for conserving respirators throughout earlier respiratory pathogen outbreaks and pandemics.
For pathogens for which contact transmission will not be a priority, routine restricted re-use of single-use disposable respirators has been practiced for many years. For instance, for tuberculosis prevention, a respirator categorised as disposable could be reused by the identical supplier so long as the respirator maintains its structural and practical integrity. If reuse have to be carried out in occasions of shortages, HCP could possibly be inspired to reuse their N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with tuberculosis illness first. Restricted re-use of N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with SARS-CoV-2 an infection may additionally develop into vital. Nonetheless, it’s unknown what the potential contribution of contact transmission is for SARS-CoV-2, and warning needs to be used.
It is very important seek the advice of with the respirator producer concerning the utmost variety of donnings or makes use of they advocate for the N95 respirator mannequin. If no producer steering is on the market, knowledge recommend limiting the variety of reuses to not more than 5 makes use of (5 donnings) per machine by the identical HCP to make sure an satisfactory respirator efficiency.3 HCP ought to at all times examine the respirator and carry out a seal test upon donning a re-used respirator. For N95 respirators which have been donned greater than 5 occasions and should should be re-used once more, respiratory safety program managers ought to take into account implementing a qualitative respirator match efficiency analysis. N95 and different disposable respirators shouldn’t be shared by a number of HCP.
Throughout occasions of disaster, practising restricted re-use whereas additionally implementing prolonged use could be thought of. If restricted re-use is practiced on prime of prolonged use, warning needs to be used to attenuate self-contamination and degradation of the respirator. If no producer steering is on the market, an affordable limitation ought to proceed to be 5 complete donnings whatever the variety of hours the respirator is worn.
It could even be essential to re-use N95 respirators when caring for sufferers with varicella or measles, though contact transmission poses a danger to HCP who implement this apply. Ideally, N95 respirators shouldn’t be re-used by HCP who take care of sufferers with SARS-CoV-2 an infection then take care of different sufferers with varicella, measles, and tuberculosis, and vice versa.
Respirators dirty or grossly contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or different bodily fluids from sufferers needs to be discarded. HCP can take into account utilizing a face defend or facemask over the respirator to cut back/forestall contamination of the N95 respirator, particularly throughout aerosol producing procedures or procedures anticipated to generate splashes and sprays. It is very important carry out hand hygiene earlier than and after the beforehand worn N95 respirator is donned or adjusted.
The surfaces of a correctly donned and functioning NIOSH-approved N95 respirator will develop into contaminated with pathogens whereas filtering the inhalation air of the wearer throughout exposures to pathogen laden aerosols. The pathogens on the filter supplies of the respirator could also be transferred to the wearer upon contact with the respirator throughout actions corresponding to adjusting the respirator, improper doffing of the respirator, or when performing a user-seal test when redonning a beforehand worn respirator. One doubtlessly efficient technique to mitigate the contact switch of pathogens from the respirator to the wearer could possibly be to challenge every HCP who could also be uncovered to sufferers with SARS-CoV-2 an infection a minimal of 5 respirators. Every respirator will probably be used on a selected day and saved in a breathable paper bag till the following week. This can lead to every employee requiring a minimal of 5 N95 respirators in the event that they placed on, take off, take care of them, and retailer them correctly every day. This period of time in between makes use of ought to exceed the 72 hour anticipated survival time for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).4 If this technique is used, the entire variety of donnings ought to nonetheless not exceed 5 occasions earlier than discarding the respirator, when no producer directions are offered to point in any other case. For N95 respirators which have been donned greater than 5 occasions and should should be re-used once more, respiratory safety program managers ought to take into account implementing a qualitative respirator match efficiency analysis.
If provides are much more constrained, and 5 respirators are usually not accessible for every employee who wants them, N95 respirator restricted re-use with respirator decontamination could also be thought of. Decontamination is a course of to cut back the variety of pathogens on used filtering facepiece respirators earlier than re-using them. It’s used to restrict the chance of self-contamination. Decontamination of NIOSH-approved N95 respirators will not be in keeping with their accredited use. Respirator producers might present steering for respirator decontamination. The FDA has issued a number of Emergency Use Authorizationsexterior icon to allow the usage of sure N95 respirator decontamination programs through the COVID-19 pandemic. Decontamination might trigger poorer match and lowered filtration effectivity because of modifications to the filtering materials, straps, nostril bridge materials, or strap attachments of the filtering facepiece respirators and is not going to enhance the variety of occasions (5 donnings if not in any other case specified by the producer) that an N95 respirator could be worn. See extra concerns on re-use and potential strategies of decontamination.