Making sure that your medical supplies are not outdated is sometimes not as simple as we want. Unlike medicines with expiry dates, medical supplies, like CPR face shields, don’t have a use-by date. So how do you know if they’re still safe for use?
CPR face shields do not have an expiry or use-by date. How long they can be used and reused depends on how well they are stored. However, while most manufacturers indicate their shelf life to be indefinite, it is best to discontinue using a mask that has been in storage for more than five years.
Further in this article, I will elaborate on the length of time CPR face shields can be used, how to properly store them, and what signs indicate that it’s time to throw them away.
How Long Can You Use CPR Face Shields?
CPR face shields, or CPR face masks, are designed for long-term use and can last for up to five years if used and kept according to manufacturer instructions. The length of time they can be used depends mainly on how well they have been stored.
To help you determine how long you should continue to keep your CPR face shield, you can check the date that it was manufactured. If it’s been more than five years, it’s probably time to buy a new one. This is mainly because it may no longer perform as well as it should by then.
For example, the mask may not seal as securely to the face after five years. It may loosen over time, especially if the mask is well-used. The longer it has been in your possession, the more signs of wear and tear will be present. And for an emergency supply, that’s something that you don’t want.
At the very least, your emergency medical kit should be in top shape because it could mean the difference between saving a life or losing one. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to expose yourself to infection when doing CPR.
Proper CPR Face Shield Care
To maximize use, it’s essential to know how to take care of your CPR face shield properly. There are three main aspects in doing this:
- Cleaning or disinfecting
Unless these are done correctly, you’ll have to keep replacing your CPR face shield every year.
In more detail, let’s talk about proper care for your CPR face shield.
Cleaning a CPR Face Shield
Before putting a CPR face shield back in storage, thoroughly clean and disinfect it. This is crucial, especially if you use it to perform CPR on a stranger.
Here’s how to do it:
- Wet the face shield with running water.
- Soap down all surfaces of the face shield with a detergent solution or a dishwashing liquid.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Prepare a disinfecting solution of 1 cup (240 ml) of bleach per gallon (4.54 l) of water.
- Submerge the face shield in the disinfecting solution and leave it there for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Air dry.
Once your face shield is clean and disinfected, you can now put it back in storage. If your face shield has a case, you should clean and disinfect that too before putting the cleaned face shield back in.
Also, you should never touch the part of the face shield that was in contact with another person whose exposure history or a medical condition you are not knowledgeable about. After use, put the face shield back in its container and disinfect it as soon as possible.
Valves are also meant to be disposed of after use. So after doing CPR, throw those away and don’t reuse them.
Storing a CPR Face Shield
Your first guide to the proper storage of your CPR face shield is always the manufacturer’s instructions. Refer to them to know how and where to keep your face shield correctly.
But just in case you lost the manual that came with the face shield, there are general storage guidelines that you can follow, such as the following:
- Store the CPR face shield in a cool, dry place.
- Always air dry cleaned face shields before storage.
- Do not keep used valves with the face shield.
- Do not put un-cleaned and un-disinfected face shields in storage.
Ideally, you should inspect your CPR face shield at least once every year to see any signs of damage.
Below, we will discuss what signs of damage you should be looking for.
Signs That a CPR Mask Should No Longer Be Used
As soon you notice any signs of damage, you should no longer use the CPR face shield. Not only will it be inefficient in doing CPR, but using a damaged face shield can also put your health and safety at risk.
Here are some of the most common signs that your CPR face shield needs replacing.
- It has become brittle. A CPR face shield should be pliable enough to fit any adult’s face. (Some face shields are designed to fit both adults and children.) When it is not stored properly, it can become stiff or brittle so that it cracks when you try to stretch it or seal it on your face.
- There are visible tears or cracks. If there are visible tears or cracks, it can no longer properly act as a barrier between you and the person you’re doing CPR on. Essentially, it can no longer serve its purpose.
- It has a fungus infestation or dry rot. It is most likely caused by storing in a damp place for a long time; dry rot makes CPR face shields unsanitary and damages their structure.
A CPR face shield is an essential tool that can allow you to perform CPR on family and even strangers.
To make the most of your CPR face shield, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use and store it.
Ideally, you’ll want to be able to use it for up to 5 years before buying another one. Just check it at least once a year to ensure it is in excellent condition.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect medical supplies, look no further than our selection here at Allied USA. With a wide variety of items to choose from, ranging from CPR Fsce Shields to medical gloves, you’ll find that we can easily serve as your go-to one-stop-shop. Browse our selection today!