Breathe Easy With a Face Mask
A surgical face mask, also called a medical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical health professionals during surgical procedures. Surgeons wear masks for several reasons, such as to avoid contamination of their mouth and nose by blood and fluid, protect their mouth from debris, reduce noise, and keep the surgical site clear of instruments and other hazards. Surgeons commonly use surgical masks while performing open-face or endoscopic heart surgery, a procedure that removes tissue from the heart. Surgical masks also prevent the entry of foreign objects into the patient’s airway. They can prevent foreign objects in the patient’s nasal passageway, preventing the entry of harmful bacteria and other particles that could cause serious health complications.
A surgical face mask has three layers: the face shield, the face mask itself, and an inner layer to absorb the “spill” when it spills. The outer layer has two to three layers of fabric. Each layer can be made of different materials, depending on the task at hand. The thickness of the layers can vary, which allows the user to choose the level of protection needed for a particular job.
A thick, flexible layer is placed over the inside of the mask wearing surface to ensure stability and make sure that the cloth does not shift when the wearer shakes or moves his head or mouth. For example, if the sick person is going to have the sick person’s head shifted during the procedure, the thin cloth should be able to hold the head in place without shifting. A thin layer can be as thin as an inch or so. If there is a need to keep the face mask in place while the patient is awake, a layer that is three inches thick or so should be appropriate. If a face mask requires that the wearer wear goggles, however, thick cloth is required.
Fabric that is specifically designed for use with face coverings can be used to protect the surfaces of the mask itself. If there are any grooves or depressions in the mask itself, fabric can be used to smooth out these imperfections. The material also protects the edges of the mask from scratches. When workers do hard jobs that put them in contact with metal tools, they often wear protective face coverings to reduce the risk of cuts or abrasions to the skin. The same protective practice applies for those who perform CPR on individuals they cannot see. Fabric is used to create forehead guards, neck shields and mouth guards that fit comfortably over the person’s face.
Other specialized treatments involve adding some sort of internal or external drainage system to the face mask. This creates a “clean barrier” against bodily fluids and mucus. Face coverings may contain channels in which water can be forced through the fabric. These channels are usually closed with Velcro or other closures. If there is an area where the wearer must frequently wash his hands, he can tie the loops of the drain openings and dispose of them after each use.
The wearer of a face mask can breathe freely and take in a full supply of oxygen. Because these items are made of special fabrics, it is important to wash them according to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Many of these items are available in the marketplace at competitive prices.