A face mask, sometimes called a facial mask, is typically a thin plastic mask placed over the nose and mouth, made of common synthetic fabric, such as cotton. While face masks have been used for centuries, they have only recently become popular as a beauty-enhancing tool. Facial masks are generally worn over makeup and hair to remove or reduce excess skin from the face. When physical distancing is not possible, and if medical facials are simply not available, a cloth face mask can be worn to temporarily fill in the facial gaps.
In early September 2021, swine flu was found in every state of the united states, with the majority of those cases occurring in Minnesota, which has a large Hispanic population. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota Medical School showed that health care providers across the United States were very poorly prepared to deal with the pandemic. Specifically, swine flu was found in every single state, and no area was immune. Because of this, many health care providers had already begun utilizing face masks as a means of reducing the spread of the pandemic. However, the study also indicated that the use of these masks was frequently being discontinued due to fatigue, poor vision and a lack of dexterity among healthcare providers, leaving them little time to properly execute all of their responsibilities.
In order to better understand how face masks help prevent the spread of this pandemic, it is important to examine why exactly they are worn. The main purpose of face masks is to prevent the transmission of the H3N2 influenza strain to patients. This strain is the same strain that was responsible for the great majority of the deaths in the recent Chicago outbreak. Masks are worn in public settings to reduce the risk of patients spreading the disease to other individuals. In the case of H3N2, the risks are even greater, as it is difficult to distinguish between the elderly and healthy people.
Additionally, healthcare workers will often wear masks to cover their nose and mouth when they are administering treatments to patients. In some situations, such as with children, nurses will be required to wear full face masks at all times. A full face mask can block all of a patient’s breathing airways, which will increase the risk of infections and complications. A nasal mask, on the other hand, can help prevent the transmission of infections from the patient’s nose to their mouth.
Another common application of face masks comes in the form of ear loops. Ear loops are worn underneath a mask to help prevent the escape of dust, which is often a cause of ear infections. As an added precaution, ear loops are often made from sterile materials to minimize the spread of germs. Since the ears are typically covered by the face mask, ear loops may not be visible to individuals who are not wearing masks.
Finally, some patients may choose to wear a surgical mask instead of a regular or disposable one for comfort. Surgical masks can be worn to protect the nose and mouth from any discomfort during surgery or to facilitate better breathing. However, they are often not worn for long periods of time due to their weight and space requirements. An example of a surgical mask that is often worn in the ICU is the breathing mask, which is made from a translucent, airtight material to protect the nasal passageways. It is inserted into the nostrils and held in place with clamps.