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What to Know About the CDC Guidelines for N95 Masks

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The virus has been spreading faster for the last few months, after the number of reported cases had dropped after the summer boom. This is in fact typical of diseases like these, where there will be summer and winter rises, with numbers lowering slightly in the fall and spring. But as we move into spring, we must remain vigilant, as the virus is not likely to disappear overnight. It will take hard work from the medical professionals and from normal people like you and me. So that is why it is so important to listen, learn, and follow the rules set down by the scientists, doctors, and researchers in the medical profession. Dr. Fauci is the most obvious voice in the crowd, appearing many times on TV, and he always has the best, most up-to-date information needed to protect ourselves and our families. However, as it is with most things, this information is very generalized, being that it is for the nation at large. The very basics are what’s important for everyone, from maintaining a social distance of six feet, to washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer whenever you can, and wearing a mask when in public places. There is so much more to learn though, such as the CDC’s guidelines to the use of the n95 respirator masks.

Most of what the CDC says is fairly common sense, things that we should know, either by intuition, or that the rules have been common knowledge. For example, n95 masks are valued at a much higher rate than other styles of face mask, such as cloth masks and surgical masks. This is because of the relative efficiency of the n95 mask compared to the other two. Cloth masks and surgical masks are perfectly fine for an hour or two of interaction at a restaurant or store, where there will be limited direct interaction, but in a setting where there is a high possibility of infection, such as a hospital ward filled with Covid-19 positive patients, we want our medical staff to be as protected as possible. N95 masks are the best possible tool for doctors and nurses in that case. For that reason there is a lot of information on the optimization of n95 procedures and reserve supplies on the CDC website, ways to order them, manufacture them and distribute them. What American companies can do to begin their own manufacturing processes, and how best to supply hospitals and staff with the necessary emergency equipment. As well as plans for the supply chains that will bring n95 masks across the country, there are also articles on the decontamination and reuse of n95 masks. While in normal circumstances this would not be advised, companies are only just starting to create these masks, so there are still supply problems all over the country. The CDC has a list of methods and procedures to get the most out of every n95 mask, as well as when it is not safe to reuse a mask, such as when they are placed in situations of extreme contamination.

All this information can be found on the CDC website here, where there is also more information about what you can do to help. Follow these guidelines in your work and home life to remain as safe as possible and always remember to Mask Up!

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