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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Using Facemasks or Respirators


  • Avoid close contact (less than about 6 feet away) with the sick person as much as possible.
  • If you must have close contact with the sick person (for example, hold a sick infant), spend the least amount of time possible in close contact and try to wear a facemask (for example, surgical mask) or N95 disposable respirator.
  • An N95 respirator that fits snugly on your face can filter out small particles that can be inhaled around the edges of a facemask, but compared with a facemask it is harder to breathe through an N95 mask for long periods of time. More information on facemasks and respirators can be found at H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) website.
  • Facemasks and respirators may be purchased at a pharmacy, building supply or hardware store.
  • Wear an N95 respirator if you help a sick person with respiratory treatments using a nebulizer or inhaler, as directed by their doctor. Respiratory treatments should be performed in a separate room away from common areas of the house when at all possible.
  • Used facemasks and N95 respirators should be taken off and placed immediately in the regular trash so they don’t touch anything else.
  • Avoid re-using disposable facemasks and N95 respirators, if possible. If a reusable fabric facemask is used, it should be laundered with normal laundry detergent and tumble-dried in a hot dryer.
  • After you take off a facemask or N95 respirator, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • For more information, see the Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use

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