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Sterilize and Reuse Mask

Posted

Specializes in ER/PACU. Has 14 years experience.

My employer is handing out isolation masks (the yellow tie ones) at the beginning of our shift and collecting them at the end to "be sterilized and reused". We are being told that is being done nationwide, but my friends at other facilities locally and in other states have said they are not doing that. I asked how they sterilized them and how/if the integrity of the mask is affected. I have not received an answer. We also asking about makeup and perfumes that may get on the mask from each user. Please let me know if you are or are not doing this. Thanks!

NurseSpeedy, ADN, LPN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

How the heck are they sterilizing a disposable paper mask???

Sorry, but your employer sounds like they are feeding you a load of BS. God I hope they are not reusing masks that are not even the right kind of mask for this situation.

1 minute ago, NurseSpeedy said:

Edited by NurseSpeedy

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

11 hours ago, NurseSpeedy said:

How the heck are they sterilizing a disposable paper mask???

I work at a huge research facility, and we just got an email saying they have ways to decontaminate our N95s. Somehow they're able to disinfect them with highly-pressurize, aerosolized hydrogen peroxide. Apparently they've been using the process in their Microbiology and infectious disease labs for a years, and now they're up-scaling the facility that does it to process all of our N95s moving forward. No word on surgical masks, though.

Have also been told the same thing as adventure_rn. (maybe we work at the same facility?)

21 hours ago, NurseSugar said:

My employer is handing out isolation masks (the yellow tie ones) at the beginning of our shift and collecting them at the end to "be sterilized and reused". We are being told that is being done nationwide, but my friends at other facilities locally and in other states have said they are not doing that. I asked how they sterilized them and how/if the integrity of the mask is affected. I have not received an answer. We also asking about makeup and perfumes that may get on the mask from each user. Please let me know if you are or are not doing this. Thanks!

Same here. I have also asked how they are planning on doing this (**insert cricket chirps here**)

NurseSpeedy, ADN, LPN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

12 hours ago, smf0903 said:

Same here. I have also asked how they are planning on doing this (**insert cricket chirps here**)

You would think it would be a pretty straight forward answer-unless they don’t know what they’re doing-which may be nothing but handing back out the masks.

The president also said we can do this. He had no specifics on this either. Because it can't be done.

Thanks, I had no idea.

could you send your protocol to Gov. Cuomo of NY and the other state governors?

hmmmm! my BS meter is chirping. Try sending this to the CDC and a national news agency, and see what is said about that from official sources.

See if you can do it anonymously, if to a news agency.

This is a yellow surgical mask, not even an N95 respirator. It is kleenex with strings.

RN with 40 years of experience, most in ICU, two credentials, lots of scars from weird fights with administration.

NurseSugar

Specializes in ER/PACU. Has 14 years experience.

Again, this is not N95s.

LOL "kleenex with strings" xD ... apparently isolation masks are still preferred over the cloth mask, so they must have some sort of micron permeability rating. I wonder what it is compared to cotton or flannel. They do seem quite flimsy to me as well... And from what I recall they are only supposed to last 4 hours.

With the N95 resterilization -- those also are only supposed to last a specific amount of wear time. Does sterilizing them reset that? Are they still effective? Or just germ free? It would be nice to have answers since nurses are following orders and placed at risk based on decisions from those behind a desk.

Apparently my facility does not know how they are going to sterilize, but are collecting masks for later in case that technology becomes available. In the mean time, instead of just assigning us one to keep, we are getting a new one each shift. Hardly a conservation effort at this point.

CampyCamp, RN

Has 18 years experience.

1 hour ago, NurseSugar said:

Again, this is not N95s.

LOL "kleenex with strings" xD ... apparently isolation masks are still preferred over the cloth mask, so they must have some sort of micron permeability rating. I wonder what it is compared to cotton or flannel. They do seem quite flimsy to me as well... And from what I recall they are only supposed to last 4 hours.

This site has some ranking and rating of common materials https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/

BlueShoes12, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU, Stepdown, Trauma.

My hospital is apparently having staff in the ED rewear SURGICAL masks from shift to shift, to be stored in a brown paper bag with no mention of sterilization. They are to be worn until the mask is contaminated (isn't it if somebody coughs on it?), torn or visibly soiled.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Sorry to be cynical but I'm looking at pics of nurses from Italy and China in head-to-toe hazmat gear. How are we protected in a yellow gown and ear loop mask?