It's time to put the cloth mask away, bub.

I remember when the pandemic started almost two years ago now, my wife went bananas buying masks and making masks with patterns that she found online. It was cool at the time because it felt like I had an endless supply of clean masks. And of course, we always kept a small stash of surgical masks too.

But of course, the virus has changed a lot in the last couple of years. There've been a couple of variants already, and the masks require to fight them are also changing. Because of the intensity that the Omicron strain can spread with, health officials are now suggesting all those cloth masks we've been using, aren't quite enough anymore.

It's time to stock up on N95 or KN95 masks to do the job right.

That's all well and good, but lord knows we've all felt the pinch of the supply chain issues the pandemic has been causing, so it's not always as simple as running out for a fresh supply of N95 or KN95 masks. So it begs the question, can that "disposable" mask be used more than once. Short answer? Yes according to WMTW.

But there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Obviously, if it's dirty at all, just chuck it. You can also use a few at a time and rotate them. That way they can kind of "sanitize" themselves as you go. But most importantly, do not try to wash one. They're not waterproof, nor are they designed to be immersed in water.

So what can you do to make sure it's safe to use again?

First, don't wear it more than a few times. Too many times and they won't fit right anymore. Second, by rotating a few, you can put slightly worn ones in a clean, dry, paper bag where they can properly dry out. After four or five days, it's good to go again. It may take a bit of work to get the rotation right, but likely worth it.

It's all very simple and doesn't take too much effort, but wearing the proper masks for what we're seeing for numbers of cases may be crucial. Obviously, everyone just wants all this over. But rushing it won't do us any good at all. Just keep your face covered, and keep on keepin' on until it's finally normal again. Although, were we ever normal?

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