We had a post from someone named Andy F who admitted that he is not a nurse. Because this Forum is for nurses only, we removed him from the conversation. However, his comment was aimed at helping you all. He is quoting from a study reported in the peer-review journal, Nature, about how to extend the life of PPE.
I am reprinting his comment here is case it is helpful to any of you. But please note that he will not see your comments because he is not eligible to participate in Forum.
Here's what he said:
Read this if your hospital is short of respirators and you are having to reuse single-use masks
I am not a frontline nurse, but thank you to all of you who are.
I joined this forum for the single reason that I want to share some research which I discovered in the journal Nature ("a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology") which could help healthcare workers on the front lines who are having to reuse respirators designed for single use be safer.
The research paper was published in 2017 and is titled "Universal and reusable virus deactivation system for respiratory protection" (https://www.nature.com/articles/srep39956) by a team at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Currently, untreated masks simply trap live virus on their surface, meaning that they are increasingly hazardous the longer they are worn. In this paper the researchers describe how coating the outside of a cloth or surgical mask, or an N95 with a layer of salt crystals can effectively destroy viruses spread by droplets, rendering the treated mask not only more effective while being worn, but essentially "clean" when it is taken off, and thus reusable.
Basically, when a droplet containing virus comes into contact with crystallized salt it briefly creates a tiny drop of salt solution. As the water evaporates the salt crystals reform and destroy the virus.
How do you treat a mask? I make a strong salt solution, adding table salt to warm water until it will no longer dissolve as it is stirred. Put the salt solution in a spray bottle and spray it onto the outside of your N95 or cloth mask, then hang it up and let it dry completely before wearing. Surgical masks tend to be more water resistant, so painting them with the salt solution works better and allows you to get into all the pleats. Again, let them dry all the way before wearing because the crystals are the key to success.
Does this really work? According to the research paper it does. It makes sense to me, so I've been doing it. And, the researchers are now working on getting salt-treated masks produced commercially.
Thanks again and keep up the good work. And I hope this helps.