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Face Mask – To Wear Or Not To Wear

A surgical face mask, sometimes called a facial mask, is designed to be worn by medical professionals during surgical procedures. Surgical masks are designed to prevent cross infections in medical staff and preventing the spread of infections from one patient to another by capturing airborne particles and fluid droplets from the mouth and nose of the wearer. The surgical face masks also reduce the risks of skin irritations and allergic reactions due to foreign materials inhaled by patients. The materials used for surgical masks vary depending on the type of procedure undertaken.

Face Mask

In cases where the healthcare organisations experience a pandemic or a large scale outbreak of a deadly disease, the use of surgical masks becomes mandatory. In most countries, it is not mandatory to wear a face mask during medical procedures but some do so for example in USA, UK and Australia. This is because the virus spreads via direct contact with the face and body fluids of an infected person. It is believed that the disease could have been contained if the patients had worn masks.

Medical practitioners also use face coverings to protect their patients during the preparation, examination and final examinations. It is used as additional safeguard against fluid splash back of excretory fluids. Such protective covering also prevents the transmission of airborne viruses like influenza and herpes, through the air. Some of the common materials used as face coverings are vinyl or latex gloves, masks made from plastic film or polyethylene or silicon carbide sheeting. These coverings are also used during autoclaves, surgical processes and laboratories.

During surgical procedures, a disposable plastic face mask called a nasal cannula is inserted into the nose prior to the procedure and kept there for the duration of the treatment. The nasal cannula is drawn up into a bag and is taken away after the completion of the procedure. This bag of plastic remains attached to the face in order to allow easy wiping of the sterile surface. Though such procedure has many advantages, it has some disadvantages as well as the possibility of abrasion of skin near the nostrils, the possibility of air leak and the possibility of migration of bacteria from the plastic bag into the nasal cavity.

In the case of social distancing, it is possible that the wearer develops some level of anxiety in facing certain people. They may be the ones they know and love but it can also be the unknown ones like acquaintances and strangers they meet every day. Face covers like nose clips can help them feel more confident when they are in company. It can help them to feel at ease and safe in situations where they normally feel nervous like at parties, clubs, office functions and gatherings. It is not advisable for smokers and those who drink heavily to wear these masks as they may worsen the situation and create social distancing.

When you have your own choice of face mask to wear, it is recommended to select the one that fits your facial feature well. The choice may be difficult for those who have a large nose or uneven features. It is advisable to consult your doctor first for proper guidance and prescription for the right mask. This will further save you from further regrets. If you are using a hand sanitizer that contains antibacterial ingredients like chlorhexidine, benzoyl peroxide or the regular soap and tap water can work for you too. These are chemical agents that eliminate the bacteria present in the mucus membranes so that you can breathe easier without any obstruction in the air ways.

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