FAQs and Resources

FAQs

Unified Safe Guard’s Response to PPE and COVID-19.
Please review some of these more requested questions and answers and some of the most reliable resources available. 

Can my KN95 mask be worn multiple times?

It is recommended that KN95 masks be discarded after each use. Please consult with a medical professional or the CDC for official recommendations.

Can my KN95 mask be worn multiple times?

It is recommended that KN95 masks be discarded after each use. Please consult with a medical professional or the CDC for official recommendations.

What is the purpose of PPE?

PPE are special coverings designed to protect dental health care personnel (DHCP) from exposure to or contact with infectious agents. These include gloves, face masks, protective eyewear, face shields, and protective clothing (e.g., reusable or disposable gown, jacket, lab coat). PPE can also prevent microorganisms from spreading from DHCP to patients. For guidance on how to choose and use PPE in health care settings, see CDC’s Protecting Healthcare Personnel.

Source: CDC Website, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faqs/personal-protective-equipment.html

What is the difference between gowns and coveralls?
  • CDC’s guidance for Considerations for Selecting Protective Clothing used in Healthcare for Protection against Microorganisms in Blood and Body Fluids provides additional comparisons between gowns and coveralls.
  • Gowns are easier to put on and, in particular, to take off. They are generally more familiar to healthcare workers and hence more likely to be used and removed correctly. These factors also facilitate training in their correct use.
  • Coveralls typically provide 360-degree protection because they are designed to cover the whole body, including the back and lower legs, and sometimes the head and feet as well. Surgical/isolation gowns do not provide continuous whole-body protection (e.g., they have possible openings in the back, and typically provide coverage to the mid-calf only).
  • The level of heat stress generated due to the added layer of clothing is also expected to be less for gowns when compared to coveralls due to several factors, such as the openings in the design of gowns and total area covered by the fabric.
How many times Can I Wash my Mask?

It is important to note that only a homemade fabric mask and an AntiMicrobial BioMask are reusable and washable. Other masks such as a medical mask, a KN95 mask, a N95 mask, or a 3-layer mask are intended to be used one time only.

Cloth masks can be washed multiple times. It is advisable to wash a homemade mask after every use in hot water with a good soap or detergent and hang them out to dry.

When it comes to an AntiMicrobial Biomask, you can wash them up to 20 times. These masks are comfortable and provide a greater level of safety over a 1-layer cloth mask.
Is a Washable Cloth Mask Okay to Use?

Homemade fabric masks can be washed multiple times, especially if you wear them regularly. Cloth masks made from cotton, old sheets, and t-shirts are safe to use after a wash.

It is advisable that you wash your cloth mask with soap or detergent and let it dry naturally. Also, the mask should be washed after every use.

So, washing your mask regularly and hanging them out in a well-ventilated area to dry will keep your mask free from viruses and germs.

Which Masks are Washable?

Today, masks have become a necessity!  As many worry about access, safety, waste and cost, we often are asked, “Which masks are washable and reusable?”.

But did you know there are only a few masks that are washable and safe? That said, only an AntiMicrobial Biomask and homemade fabric masks can be washed.

Many AntiMicrobial BioMasks are safely washable up to 25 times before degradation occurs. You can also wash homemade fabric masks made from cotton, t-shirt, and old sheets in hot water.

KN95, N95, 3-ply medical and 3-ply non-medical masks are not washable. In fact, they are meant to be used one time only. 

Should I Wear a Mask Outside?

To protect yourself and those around you, masks have become a necessity in many states, cities and businesses and merely a suggestion in others. 

Please check your local state and local municipalities and area businesses.  You may have to put on a mask whenever you step out of your home. At the time of writing this piece, it currently does not matter much whether you wear a 3-ply mask, N95 mask, KN95 mask, or homemade fabric masks.  However, we anticipate there will be expectations and regulations surrounding combining additional protective measures when using a 1-layer mask as opposed to 3 or more layer masks.

If you are exercising in a park, walking, jogging, running, or cycling and experience difficulty in breathing while wearing a mask, please stop and take care of your health. But make sure you wear a mask when you are out or you keep it in your pocket so that you can wear it as needed. 

Should I Wear a Mask in my Car?

Check your state and local municipalities as well as area businesses.  Many states and cities and businesses require a mask in public. If you do not have a 3-layer mask or N95 or KN95 mask then you can use a homemade fabric mask. A Scarf and a bandana can also be used in case you do not have any type of mask.

It is advisable to put on a mask while driving if you have someone outside of your immediate family with you or if you do not feel well.

If you are alone in the car then it is not necessary to wear a mask. But make sure you always keep it with yourself and wear it once you step out of your car as needed. 

When should I wear Gloves?

In this pandemic era, protecting yourself from the virus has become a new reality for many people. Much of the safety discussions revolve around masks; however, do you need to wear gloves while going outside or cleaning your home?

Yes, you should wear gloves if you are disinfecting your home. And, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing your gloves.

Yes, if you are taking care of someone who is sick then you should wear gloves. It is advisable to use disposable gloves so that you can discard them once you are done with the job. Do not forget to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing your gloves.

No, you do not necessarily need to use gloves when you are going out of the home unless you have an open cut or sore on your hand and/or you plan on touching something in public for long periods of time.  Yes, do wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after coming to your final destination to prevent the spread of any germs.

How Should I Use a Hand Sanitizer properly?

Using hand sanitizers is a great way of cleaning your hands when you do not have soap and water available. Hand sanitizers are used if your hands are not visibly dirty, soiled, or greasy. They do kill germs and bacteria. Hand sanitizers should be used correctly to clean your hands.

It’s been recommended that you always use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent of alcohol.

Steps of cleaning hands with hand sanitizer:

  • Begin with dry hands.
  • Apply enough (coin-sized) of the sanitizer on the palm of one hand so that it can cover both hands.
  • Rub palm to palm and then spread it over.
  • Now rub it over your fingers and its tips.
  • Rub the thumb of each hand and its tips.
  • Then rub your palm on the back of the other hand and interlace your fingers. Repeat this step on the other hand.
  • Wait for a few seconds so that the sanitizer can evaporate.

This whole process will take around 20 to 30 seconds. Do it properly so that hand sanitizer can work effectively.

How do I Safely Remove PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be removed carefully to avoid spreading infection. Healthcare workers have to be extra vigilant and take the PPE off without contaminating the clothes and skin.

The procedure of removing PPE is as follows –

  • Step 1: Firstly disinfect your gloves and then remove the shoe cover, discard it, and disinfect your gloves again.
  • Step 2: Grasp the exterior of one glove at the wrist and pull it off. Hold it in the gloved hand. Now slide the fingers of a single ungloved hand under the wrist of a double-gloved hand and pull it over so that it turns inside out.
  • Step 3: Discard your outer pair of gloves and disinfect your inner pair of gloves.
  • Step 4: Now tilt your head forward and remove the face shield and goggles. Discard it and again disinfect your gloves.
  • Step 5: Remove the gown, discard it, and disinfect your gloves. 
  • Step 6: Grasp the exterior of one glove at the wrist and pull it off. Hold it in the gloved hand. Now slide the fingers of the ungloved hand under the wrist of the gloved hand and pull it over so that it turns inside out. Discard the gloves.
  • Step 7: Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  • Step 7: Now remove your mask or respirator from behind and discard it.
  • Step 8: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or clean them with hand sanitizer.

Make sure you perform hand hygiene after every step. Be cautious while removing PPE and in case your hands become contaminated, quickly wash your hands.

Which Mask Should I Wear?

There are many types of masks and each of them protects to a different extent. So, it is important to know which face masks are used in different situations.

Surgical also known as Medical Masks 

These multi-layered masks are fluid resistant, protect both inhalation and exhalation, and are used to reduce the exposure when you cough or sneeze in the presence of others. They are also used by medical workers and are intended to use one time only. A proper surgical mask is usually made of three layers, including an outer hydrophobic non-woven layer, a middle melt-blown layer, and an inner soft absorbent non-woven layer. Use this type of mask if you experience a cough or sneeze or dealing with the person that has these symptoms.

AntiMicrobial Protective (AMP) BioMask

Designed for comfort and safety, it incorporates advanced antimicrobial composite materials with a double layer of protection. The BioMask shields against life-threatening pathogens and air contaminants, while providing a uniquely comfortable fit for both inhalation and exhalation. It kills most pathogens (viruses, respirated droplets, bacteria, fungi), air contaminants and is washable up to 20 times. It can be used alone or on top of a N95 or 3-Layer Mask. 

N95 Respirators

These masks are effective and designed to form a seal around the nose that is molded to your face. N95 Masks (without valves) are typically considered to be the highest protection for inhalation and exhalation, usually reserved for Healthcare/Front Line and are meant to be used only once. 

KN95

These masks follow Chinese standards and have a filtration efficiency of not less than 95 percent for non-oily particulates. They are as effective as N95 masks and are intended to be used one time only. These masks have four layers of protection to protect you from viruses and dust particles. 

3 Layer Non Medical Masks

The 3 ply non-woven design, provides exhalation protection and some inhalation protection against dust, automobile exhaust, pollen, etc. and typically has an elastic ear loop. These are perfect for protection in public such as nail salons, stores, airplanes, etc. The 3-layer mask is usually made of environmentally friendly material and is moisture-proof, non-toxic, non-irritating, soft, and comfortable.

Homemade Fabric Masks

These masks offer more protection for exhalation than inhalation. They are washable and can be used multiple times. You can wear these masks when required and if you don’t have a 3-Layer Mask or a BioMask.

No matter what mask you wear, please make sure it covers your face and nose correctly as is correct for the environment you are in.

How should I put on and take off my face mask?

Always remember – Wearing a face mask in the right way will offer you better protection than putting it on, wearing it or removing it incorrectly!

How do I put on a face mask?

  • Wash your hands by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean them with hand sanitizer before touching your mask.
  • Place the stiff side of the mask over your nose.
  • Now place loops around your ears.

There should be no gap between the face and your mask.

How do I remove a face mask?

  • Remove it from behind and throw it in a closed bin.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Never touch your mask from the front while taking it off.

If you use a washable mask, keep it away from anything that can contaminate your mask after washing and do not mix a contaminated mask with your personal belongings.  Please wash your washable mask in hot water to kill any bacteria and viruses.

When to Wear a Mask?

COVID-19 has impacted people across the world in a variety of ways.  As social distancing is still encouraged, many restrictions are being lifted leaving people to wonder how to protect themselves and those close to them.  One very common question and comment is “When should I wear a mask?”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends wearing a mask:

  • If you are experiencing cough, sneezing, and fever, or have respiratory signs.
  • Or you are taking care of someone with the symptoms mentioned above.

Additionally, many businesses and federal, state and local authorities are recommending wearing a mask when stepping out of your home if you will be within close proximity of others.

Make sure you know how to correctly wear and remove the face mask. Also, do not forget to wash your hands frequently before putting on your mask or after removing your mask.

Stay safe!

How do I properly put on and take off my gloves?

Whether you are using sterile gloves or non-sterile gloves, you should make sure that you are putting on and taking them off correctly. By doing so, you will be able to prevent the transmission of germs and viruses.

Before you wear gloves, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

How do I Put on Gloves?

  • Take out a glove for your dominant hand.
  • Touch it only from the top edge of the cuff.
  • Put it on.

To wear the glove of another hand:

  • Touch it from the edge of the cuff and lift it up.
  • Pull it over your hand and do not touch your bare palm or wrist.

How do I Remove Gloves?

  • Use your dominant hand to pinch the glove of another hand from the wrist.
  • Pull it away, allowing it to turn inside out.
  • After that hold it in the gloved hand.

To remove the glove of another hand:

  • Slide your fingers of the ungloved hand into the gloved hand from the wrist.
  • Roll it down to remove.
  • Fold it into your first glove when you reach near to your fingers.

Now, wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands afterward.

What is PPE and What does PPE include?

PPE is short for personal protective equipment.  PPE is used to prevent the transmission or spread of bacteria, viruses and germs. Healthcare professionals depend on it to protect themselves from risk of infection.

PPE includes the following components –

  1. Gowns, overalls, or coveralls
  2. Masks or respirators such as single layer, triple layer medical mask and N-95 respirator mask
  3. Face shield and goggles
  4. Gloves including nitrile gloves and latex gloves
  5. Head covers
  6. Shoe covers
  7. And much more.

PPE is designed to cover the whole body of healthcare providers. This kit should be put on and removed carefully to limit the spread of contamination.  

Which Masks are Washable?

Today, masks have become a necessity!  As many worry about access, safety, waste and cost, we often are asked, “Which masks are washable and reusable?”.

But did you know there are only a few masks that are washable and safe? That said, only an AntiMicrobial Biomask and homemade fabric masks can be washed.

Many AntiMicrobial BioMasks are safely washable up to 25 times before degradation occurs. You can also wash homemade fabric masks made from cotton, t-shirt, and old sheets in hot water.
KN95, N95, 3-ply medical and 3-ply non-medical masks are not washable. In fact, they are meant to be used one time only. 
Is a Washable Cloth Mask Okay to Use?

Homemade fabric masks can be washed multiple times, especially if you wear them regularly. Cloth masks made from cotton, old sheets, and t-shirts should be washed in hot water after each use.

Please note a one-layer cloth mask will not provide all the needed protection in many circumstances of close contact against viruses and bacteria.

It is advisable to combine a one-layer cloth mask with a 3-layer disposable mask or use an anti-microbial biomask.  Do wash your cloth mask with soap or detergent and let it dry naturally. Read more about which masks should be used in which situations.

How many times Can I Wash my Mask?

It is important to note that a homemade fabric mask and an AntiMicrobial BioMask are reusable and washable. Other masks such as a 3-layer medical mask, 3-layer non-medical, KN95 mask, N95 mask are intended to be used one time only.

Cloth masks can be washed multiple times. It is advisable to wash a homemade mask after every use in hot water. When it comes to an AntiMicrobial Biomask, you can wash them up to 20 times. These masks are comfortable, look nice and provide added safety over a homemade 1-layer fabric mask.

Should Kids Wear Masks and Gloves?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kids who are of 2 years and above should wear a mask to cover their nose and mouth whenever they are in public.

Whereas kids who are under the age of 2 should not wear a mask as they have smaller airways and could experience suffocation if they wear a mask. 

Kids do not need to wear gloves. However, they should be reminded to clean their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when their hands get dirty, before they eat and after they come home from being out in public. Also, kids should be reminded that they need to maintain some distance from others and minimize touching objects in public.

Can a N95 Mask Be Sanitized for Reuse?

Though N95 masks are intended to be used only once, it has become difficult to find or afford a new one. So, the CDC has allowed reusing a N95 for a limited time after disinfecting it.

Several attempts were made to disinfect the N95 mask and at the time of writing this piece, the best one is to heat a N95 at 185 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. This process made it to be treated fifty times and it does not even take away its filtration efficiency.  However, researchers pointed out that frequently putting on and removing it can affect its fit and performance.  Another option is a N95 sanitizing machine such as the N9500 which is manufactured in the US and is used to sanitize up to 4 masks at once using UV light.  Interested in purchasing a N9500 direct from the manufacturer or any other available sanitizing equipment?  Ask Unified Safe Guard for more information.

Mistakes You are Making with Your Gloves
It is nice that you are taking good care and maintaining good hygiene by wearing masks and gloves. But there is a chance that you might be committing some mistakes while using your gloves, which include: 
  • Using hand sanitizer on your gloves, which will eventually degrade its quality.
  • Washing your gloves frequently and using the same pair for a long time.
  • Driving your car, touching your personal items, your face, and eyes with gloves you have worn while shopping.
  • Not discarding your gloves correctly.

Disposable gloves are intended to be used once only. If you’re using latex gloves then you can simply wash them with soap and water.

Using gloves will only be effective if you follow strict hand hygiene. Also, prefer washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for cleaning your hands.

The Right Way to Use a Mask

Masks are one of the effective ways of protecting yourself from germs. And they are only useful if you wear masks the right way.

So, to put on a mask, please start with washing and drying your hands. Next check the mask for defects such as tear or missing of a loop. If there is any defect then throw it away. Once you determine the mask has no defects, place the masks’s stiff side over your nose. Hold it from the front and then place the loops around your ears.

If your mask has ties then you can directly pick the mask by the ties and tie it behind your head.

No matter which mask you wear, just make sure that there are no gaps between your face and nose and the edges of the mask.

Why You Should use Hand Sanitizers?
Hand sanitizers have become an essential commodity today as it is known to kill microorganisms quickly. So, if water and soap are not available at the moment then a hand sanitizer can be used. Make sure you use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean your hands.
Benefits due to which you should count on hand sanitizers are –
  • It requires less time in cleaning hands.
  • Portable and easily accessible.
  • Quickly kills germs on hands.
  • Reduces bacterial counts on hands.
  • Just a small amount of a hand sanitizer clean hands.
  • Results in less skin irritation.
  • Dries quickly.
While washing your hands with soap and water is preferable, alcohol hand sanitizers are an excellent substitution to minimize the spread of germs.
How often should I apply a Hand Sanitizer?

While we need to optimize our health, hand sanitizer has become a difficult product to obtain given the rise of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and during the cold and flu season.  If soap and water are not available, then you can count on hand sanitizers as they are effective in killing germs and bacteria.

You can use a hand sanitizer if you are –

  • Out in public and have touched any object or item.
  • Done with buying groceries and now going to step into your car.
  • In your office and have touched an item that is touched by others.

There can be many more instances when you can use a hand sanitizer. It is vital to remain cautious so that you do not touch anything unnecessarily.

Make sure you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only.

Using a hand sanitizer is an efficient way of cleaning hands and should be used anytime you go from activity to activity.

Can Hand Sanitizer Protect You from Viruses?
Hand sanitizer is a disinfectant and is effective in killing germs. But you have to use it correctly to make it work for you. First, you should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains around 60 to 95 percent of alcohol. Such hand sanitizers prevent the transmission of viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
The correct way of using hand sanitizer is – take a coin-sized hand sanitizer on your palm, rub it with the palm of the other hand. Now spread it over your fingers, then rub it over your thumbs. After that, rub your palm on the back of each hand. Wait for a few seconds to let the sanitizer evaporate. It will take only 20 to 30 seconds.
According to the CDC, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has equal to or more than 60 percent of alcohol if water and soap are not accessible. 
Which masks protect against bacteria and which masks protect against viruses?

Masks are one of the effective ways of protecting yourself from harmful bacteria and viruses. And it’s vital to know which masks are effective, from the available masks at hand.

Medical Mask

These masks catch droplets when you cough or sneeze. They provide more protection against bacteria and viruses and are widely used by healthcare professionals. These marks are disposable and not intended to be used more than once.

N95

These masks are made to achieve a close facial fit and known to provide great protection from bacteria and viruses. These are also not intended to be reused.

KN95

They are known to provide maximum protection as they have four layers that feature 95 percent of filtering efficiency. KN95 masks are also intended to be used one time only.

AntiMicrobial BioMask

These highly effective masks guard against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They are reusable and can be washed up to 20 times.

You can choose any of these masks, and wear them in the right way to protect yourself and those around you from bacteria and viruses.

How does UV light kill bacteria and viruses?

UV light is proving to be a great solution in killing viruses and bacteria. According to a study done at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, far ultraviolet C light kills flu viruses without posing any risk to human tissues.

UV light can easily inactivate an array of bacteria and viruses that are harmful to humans. UV light interferes with DNA and RNA. Then, it immediately destroys the bacteria because it attacks cell-division due to which bacteria are unable to reproduce. No matter what substance or surface is, UV light kills these infectious agents it encounters in that space.  

Ask about Unified Safe Guard’s UV solutions including sanitizing N95 machine, UV lights, Handheld UV Sanitizing Wand, Room Sanitizer and more!

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