A facial mask, sometimes called a “purifier face mask“, is an artificially-made mask worn over either the nose and mouth, to cleanse the air and promote breathing. There are many different types of these cleansing masks available today, each tailored to particular needs and desires. When practical purification isn’t possible, and when no natural physical distancing can be created, cloth face masks can help. These masks help to eliminate allergens and irritants that can make breathing difficult in some situations. Even when air purifiers cannot be used, cloth masks provide an extra layer of defense from airborne irritants.
The pandemic preparedness industry uses a variety of fabrics that are frequently used as face masks. It is important to be familiar with the fabrics that are most appropriate for specific situations and the purpose of the face mask itself. For example, many pandemic masks made of face masks are specifically designed to meet the needs of the elderly or children who may have special needs. While adult and children may benefit from many different types of face masks, there are specific pandemic safety materials that should be used in order to protect against the dangers of a specific type of virus.
Pandemic preparedness workers often need to use face masks designed to limit or completely prevent the spread of a particular virus or bacteria. Containment is key in preventing the spread of any disease. Some viruses and bacteria can only spread if particles are introduced into the air, and many types of microorganisms cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. If an area is contaminated with a particular microorganism that cannot survive in the presence of oxygen, then it would be pointless to attempt to contain the spread through the use of an oxygen-based, or air-purifying, face mask.
Fabric-based, disposable medical gloves are often used in sterile environments. However, even these medical gloves are vulnerable to the transmission of bodily fluids through abrasion or rubbing. It has been established that even one gram of virus can easily pass from one person to another through abrasion. Therefore, the use of six feet of clear, clean cloth face mask placed on the skin is highly recommended by healthcare professionals in order to limit the transfer of virus and bacteria.
Since bacteria and viruses can survive for up to 30 days in dark places, medical workers who wear cloth masks while working in a contaminated environment will be exposed to the same risk for months on end. These individuals must first remove their masks periodically to allow the infection to naturally drain from their face. Cloth face masks should also be cleaned regularly to remove any microbes, sweat, or oil that may remain underneath the plastic.
There are a number of different materials available to healthcare professionals who need face shields. While vinyl is possibly the most commonly seen face mask material, it is also one of the most expensive. The higher cost of vinyl masks may be reflected in their durability and the amount of time required to clean them. However, as technology evolves and new materials become available, vinyl will likely find its way onto the shelves of department stores in no time at all. For now, consumers can rest assured that purchasing vinyl will cost them as little as a few more dollars than a similar-sized face shield made of other materials.