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How to change, store, and dispose of masks?

Updated: Mar 19,2020 04:50 PM    Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

During the epidemic of the COVID-19, the use of masks can be appropriately extended (time of use, frequency of use) on the premise of protecting public health:

1) The medical protective masks have a service life, and the masks are for exclusive use. They cannot be used cross-personally. High-risk personnel need to change masks after re-entering after finishing work, eating (drinking water), and using the toilet.

2) The mask should be changed if it is contaminated by the patient's blood, respiratory/nasal secretions, and other body fluids.

3) Higher risk personnel need to change masks after receiving highly suspected patients.

4) Masks worn by other risk level people can be used repeatedly. Wash your hands before wearing the mask, and avoid touching the inside of the mask when wearing it. Masks need to be changed in time if they are dirty, deformed, damaged, or smelly.

If you need a re-use a mask, you can hang it in a clean, dry and ventilated place, or place it in a clean, breathable paper bag. Masks need to be stored separately to avoid contact with each other and identify the user of the mask. Medical protective masks cannot be cleaned, nor can they be disinfected by disinfectants, heating, etc. Cotton gauze masks can be cleaned and disinfected. Other non-medical masks are handled according to their instructions.

The masks used by healthy people can be disposed of according to the requirements of domestic garbage classification. Masks worn by suspected or confirmed cases should not be discarded randomly. They should be treated as medical waste and disposed of in strict accordance with relevant procedures for medical waste.

(Reference: Health Education Manual for COVID-19 Control issued by National Health Commission and China Health Education Center)

Source: Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention