Sterilizing and reusing medical masks

Sterilizing and reusing medical masks

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - With the shortage of personal protective equipment on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Tech medical students and others at the Health Sciences Center are working hard to extend the life of N95 medical masks and face shields. That means longer protection for those who use them.

The effort is called Team Decon, short for decontamination.

It starts with collecting used masks and other protective equipment from the Health Sciences Center and UMC, then disinfecting them so they can be used again.

It's a difficult process that comes with a lot of guidance ... after a lot of research. Dr. Min Kang, Pharm,D., explains, ‘‘The methodology of hydrogen peroxide vapor is you place all those masks in, and inside along with those masks is bio indicators. So, there’s 8 of them placed throughout the room and we decontaminate the masks.”

Dr. Kang says they expect to recirculate thousands of masks after decontamination.

So, if you are in a clinic and feeling a shortage of medical masks, call Justin White at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center to learn more about this collection and disinfection process. You can reach him at justin.L.white @ttuhsc.edu or (806) 777-4601.

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