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Auburn University Risk Management and Safety has developed a resource page for faculty, staff and students that may be using N95 respirator face masks. This resource page can be found at https://cws.auburn.edu/rms/pm/n95help and contains helpful links as well as a guidance flyer.

One of the biggest questions regarding N95 masks concerns their re-use. Currently, there is no way to determine the maximum possible number of safe reuses of an N95 respirator as a generic number to be applied in all cases. However, here are some recommendations designed to provide practical advice so that N95 respirators are discarded before they become a significant risk for contact transmission or their functionality is reduced.

• Discard N95 respirators following use during aerosol generating operations.

• Discard N95 respirators contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions or other bodily fluids.

• Discard N95 respirators following close contact with anyone co-infected with an infectious disease requiring contact precautions.

• Consider use of a cleanable face shield over an N95 respirator when feasible to reduce surface contamination of the respirator.

• Hang used respirators in a designated storage area or keep them in a clean, breathable container such as a paper bag between uses. To minimize potential cross-contamination, store respirators so that they do not touch each other and the person using the respirator is clearly identified. Storage containers should be disposed of or cleaned regularly.

• Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching or adjusting the respirator (if necessary, for comfort or to maintain fit).

• Avoid touching the inside of the respirator. If inadvertent contact is made with the inside of the respirator, discard the respirator and perform hand hygiene as described above.

For more information about using N95 Respirators Masks, go to https://cws.auburn.edu/rms/pm/n95help.