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Is your face mask expired?

We’ve assembled up-to-date information about the CDC’s latest guidelines, storing and checking the expiration date on your masks, how to ensure you’re purchasing the best possible quality N95s, and secure resources for high-quality PPE from trusted US supplier MediDent Supplies.

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Updates to CDC masking guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released another set of masking guidelines for US citizens. The new guidelines differ depending on the individual community and region of the country. The CDC prescribes mask usage in certain areas of high risk, as outlined in the new guidelines.

Visit the CDC’s regularly updated Covid Community Level page to check your county’s current status. Checking your area’s status – as well as the status of any other areas you travel to – can help you assess when it’s most important (or required) to mask up.

Fully vaccinated individuals still have a stronger level of protection from viruses, but those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised are still at risk in public spaces, especially indoors. People who get booster shots will be the most protected, because boosters re-stimulate the immune system and increase antibodies. However, masks still provide significant protection for all.

Learn more about the Best Tools to Protect Yourself Against Covid.

Is your face mask expired?

As we have experienced over the past year, the status of covid-19 variants can change quickly. This means that masking guidelines can change just as quickly, so it’s smart to ensure you have a stock of masks on hand in case the need changes. Masks should be stored in a dry area, or in a plastic bag with ventilation holes to avoid moisture accumulation. Cloth masks should be washed regularly to ensure they do not collect or spread germs, rather than protecting the wearer.

If you are using a mask from a pack that you’ve had for a while, it’s important to check the expiration date to be sure your face covering will still provide you with maximum efficacy. The expiration date can be found on the outside of the box. If your mask is expired, that doesn’t mean it offers no protection; it simply means the mask’s integrity isn’t as strong as it once was due to aging materials. Only wear expired masks when your risk is low or if there are no other options available.

CDC guidance endorses N95 respirators

On January 14, 2022, the CDC updated their guidance by specifically endorsing N95 respirators and similar models as the ‘highest protection available‘ against the spread of covid-19.

The CDC has previously endorsed N95 respirators as the front line of protection from viruses, stating that N95 respirator masks provide the best protection because they “[…] reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets. N95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles.” However, throughout 2020 and 2021, the CDC did not recommend that the general population wear N95 respirators due to concern over causing mask shortages for essential workers, especially in healthcare settings.

The new guidance also gave a brief ranking of other face coverings, with N95s approved by NIOSH and KN95s at the top and disposable surgical masks next on the list.

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Ensuring high quality and proper fit

Is your face mask expired? To choose an appropriate N95, you must ensure that you are using a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved filtering facepiece mask that is also FDA-authorized. You can search the NIOSH-approved equipment list to double check before purchasing here.

To learn more about proper N95 use, see How to Safely Use Your N95 Mask.

For more information on assessing masks, see the CDC’s guide to spotting fake N95s.

Respirators should cover your nose and mouth fully and should fit snugly. To ensure your respirator fits well, conduct a fit test.

MediDent Supplies: Secure, domestic PPE supply

Finally, it’s essential to purchase from a trusted source. MediDent Supplies is a U.S.-based, trusted supplier of high grade medical and other PPE. Our team of experts has a wealth of experience providing wholesale products to a wide variety of workplaces.

We are shipping N95 masks next-day. Don’t get caught unprepared; put a case in your supply closet today to avoid scrambling when the unexpected happens.

Purchasing in bulk? Contact our experienced team for wholesale orders.

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