A face mask, also known as a car mask, is an inexpensive mask designed to be worn to keep the mouth and nasal passages open while a person sleeps. Often, an airtight plastic mask such as a nasal strip or one with clear lenses will be used as well. While these products are quite comfortable, they do nothing to increase the flow of air in these areas, thus reducing the effectiveness of the therapy. While there are many types of face masks, the most popular ones are those that are easy to clean and remove without the assistance of a medical professional.
Cleaning these masks involves taking them off after each use to allow the replacement of the droplets of adhesive surrounding the plastic. If cleaning the mask is difficult or impossible, using a damp cloth and gentle solution is often enough to remove the small amount of remaining adhesive. When multiple layers of fabric are involved, it is best to place them in a zip lock bag and dispose of them as soon as they have been used. Removing the multiple layers of adhesive can make these tasks easier to clean but it can also cause them to lose their effectiveness. When physically difficult, and if not possible, when only fabric is involved, simple hand washing and drying are usually enough to take care of these masks.
The most difficult to clean face masks, which might include either two layers of plastic or fabric, may require the help of a healthcare professional. With these larger patient care devices, especially those with multiple layers, it may be necessary to remove the device altogether while a professional is making the process. While most masks made for adults need to be washed thoroughly by hand, healthcare staff members should ensure that patients are instructed to not wash their masks while they are in use.
Wearing a face mask during a cold or flu season is usually not necessary. However, when a patient is unable to prevent spreading any of these highly contagious diseases, it can be prudent to wear one. A pandemic mask, which might also include a facemask, cannot be washed because it requires special disinfection. These masks, though, should always be kept in a readily accessible spot such as the nurse’s office or another highly sanitary location. They will need to be worn throughout each day to keep them effective at containing the disease and preventing the spread.
Some people wonder why it is important to remove face masks and use burlap bags to replace them after washing. The reason is that burlap is mild enough to clean the individual’s eyes with but is strong enough to trap all of the harmful bacteria and viruses that remain after washing. Once the burlap bag has been replaced with a new one, the person simply needs to breathe slowly through the openings and leave the room. There will be no danger of airborne infections because the fabric will have been properly disinfected.
A disposable face mask can be purchased online or in most retail stores. Although they are less expensive, they are still an essential product to have on hand. For those who suffer from allergies, irritations, or chronic illnesses, they can help to prevent spreading these conditions. For others, like those who simply enjoy spending time outdoors, purchasing a disposable face mask will ensure that they spend less time indoors. When the weather outside is warm, these cloths can be easily laundered and cared for with a simple wash.