I questioned Dr. Marr for further tips on how to choose treatment of a respirator mask to maximize its use. Here’s her tips.

Q: How can we make absolutely sure our masks maintain filtering particles?

Dr. Marr: This means can be compromised if any element of the mask is bodily broken in these a way to generate leaks. This could be a tear or gap in the mask, a crease that signifies it doesn’t seal to the facial area, or straps that are way too free to pull the respirator intently to the encounter.

Q: Can a mask get saturated with particles?

Dr. Marr: Men and women could possibly be concerned about the respirator “filling up” with particles, these that the filter materials doesn’t work any more, but respirators are made to tackle a huge quantity of particles and nonetheless preserve their filtration means. Aaron Collins (@masknerd on Twitter) details out that an N95 is intended to tackle 200 milligrams of particles, which would be equivalent to putting on it nonstop for 200 days in extremely polluted air this kind of as in Shanghai. The straps or nose bridge will crack, the respirator will eliminate its shape, or the respirator will become visibly filthy ahead of this occurs.

Q: If I’m uncovered to an contaminated particular person, will my mask be contaminated?

Dr. Marr: It is possible that virus could be on the floor of the respirator, and you could contact it and transfer it to your eyes, nose or mouth. To decrease this threat, you need to cope with the respirator by the edges and straps and steer clear of touching the region in front of the nose and mouth. About time — a number of hrs — the virus will die off, so we likely really do not have to have to fret about accumulating far more than one particular day’s well worth of infectious virus on the substance. There is a frightening-sounding study that stories that the virus survives for 14 days on an N95, but the scientists dripped a massive quantity of virus onto the material — like if you intentionally spit on the mask — and taken off it by soaking it in liquid, which will transfer much more than just touching.

Q: So how long do viral particles truly endure on a mask?

Dr. Marr: We are researching this issue utilizing a a lot more reasonable way of having aerosolized virus on to an N95, and the virus decays to almost undetectable ranges in 30 minutes.

Q: What do you consider about the “40 several hours of use” rule?

Dr. Marr: Forty hours of full use, whether or not above five eight-hour intervals or a bunch of shorter periods, must be great. The straps may well turn out to be way too unfastened or break, the respirator may perhaps lose its shape, or it may develop into visibly dirty right before the 40 hours are up, in which scenario you should switch it. I have an N95 that I have worn for two spherical-trip aircraft journeys totaling 25 additionally hrs and for attending church a few occasions, going to the retail outlet a couple of situations, and attending a gymnastics fulfill, and it is ultimately getting soiled enough — predominantly from rubbing in opposition to my facial area — and shedding its form, these kinds of that I’m planning to toss it.

Q: I have noticed suggestions to air your masks out in many paper baggage, labeled with the day of the week, and to rotate masks each 5 days. But most people today just toss their masks in a drawer or purse, or dangle them on hooks. Does it seriously subject?