Have N-95 respirators in your unit? If so, they can
be used past their intended shelf-life in times of increased demand and decreased supply. But keep in mind that the respirators might not perform as well as expected. Over time, the straps and other components may degrade and lower the quality of a respirator’s fit and seal.
Healthcare personnel (HCP) (trained users) should visually inspect N-95 respirators to determine if their integrity has been compromised.
Also remember to:
- Check that components such as the straps, nose bridge and nose foam material haven’t degraded. These items affect the fit and seal of the respirator.
- Perform a seal check immediately after donning an N95 respirator. If the seal check isn’t successful, discard the respirator and try another one.
- Be aware that expired respirators may not meet the certification requirements of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Visit the Army Public Health Center’s website for more CDC guidance and 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) information:
If you have shelf-life questions, email the Army shelf-life administrators at: