N95 masks can be sterilized with a microwave: study

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(Summer Epps/ WebMD) — As one of the best lines of defense against coronavirus, N95 masks are vital for health care workers treating infected patients.

Though the masks are supposed to be used one time, the rising need and ongoing shortages have led hospitals to try mask sterilization techniques such as hydrogen peroxide vaporization, UV light, and heat incubation. A recent study from the American Society for Microbiology offers a new decontamination tool that is much more accessible and affordable: a microwave.

Researcher James E. Kirby, MD, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard says the study’s findings are crucial to the many health care centers that lack the high-capacity sterilization systems of large hospitals.

“We knew there was a critical shortage of personal protective gear and N95 masks, and we knew there was a need for a solution,” he says. (…)

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