With the COVID-19 virus still up in the air, the use of masks has been suggested once again. Some turn to acclaimed masks, the N95 of which has been preferred.

While there are other masks in circulation such as cloth-based or even the KN95 or KF94 that have been approved in certain regions, there is the fear of some being counterfeit. Hence, it follows that people need to be vigilant in purchasing the said masks.

The masks do protect all ages. But the frequency of use is something that has been up for debate. Experts weigh in on the efficiency of the protection they get from these kinds of masks, not to mention when it is safe to reuse them.

This depends on the environment where a person may be. Some may find themselves in crowded places, a reason why it may be wise to replace your mask immediately.

It should be noted that in normal conditions, these masks are used by health professionals. In this scenario, they are replaced immediately with medically-related conditions.

The case somehow differs from the normal setup. It is being used for protection in public. Hence, reusing one should be fine unless one is potentially exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. In this scenario, it is advisable to replace the mask immediately, CNN reported.

This somehow backs the claim that people are advised to keep the proper distance from others. The CDC recommends people to stay at least 6-feet away from others, something that helps avoid contracting the disease to someone who has it.

Some opt to sanitize masks to extend its use. There are different ways to do this, such as leaving it on a car’s dashboard exposed to direct light. The reason behind this according to Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is that temperature and sunlight have an effect in helping particles that may have been caught, die off over a few to several hours.

“Overall, the contamination risk in reusing N95 masks is "lower, much lower, than the risk of you not wearing an N95 and breathing in particles," Linse Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, said. "I don't want people to avoid wearing an N95 because they're worried about contamination on an N95. The N95 is going to provide a major net benefit."

N95 masks
Seized counterfeit CDC Covid-19 vaccination record cards, N95 masks, and unapproved pharmaceuticals are displayed during an opening ceremony for a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) air dedicated centralized examination station with Custom Specialized Services at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Getty Images | PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP

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