An emergency room doctor or dentist may use a face mask for patients who are under general anesthesia or who are experiencing some kind of facial swelling or pain. In these instances, the face mask helps to protect the eyes from the glare of the television or ceiling light, and it helps to obscure any signs of bruising, discoloration or other facial problems that are visible to the naked eye. Face masks also have another important function, in that they prevent the rapid accumulation of sweat on the doctor’s face while he or she is conducting delicate procedures. While some people may see this as a frivolous reason for wearing a face mask (as there are no real threats posed by face masks), doctors justify their use on the basis of the fact that they are required by law to remain within one foot of the patient at all times in order to perform their best medical work.
Face masks can be made of a wide variety of materials, from sterile plastic to soft and breathable cotton cloth. Most cloth face masks are used during routine operations such as tooth x-rays or routine dental treatments. However, for emergency situations, surgical masks may be required. Surgical masks are designed to prevent the transmission of contagious infections from one patient to another. While surgical masks may be sterile when they are first manufactured, they must undergo several processes during shipping and handling in order to remain sterile and free from contamination.
The porous surface on which to manufacture surgical masks makes them difficult to contract or spread bacteria or viruses. Because of this, these types of masks are designed to be placed over a sterile base material, such as disposable nitrile gloves or disposable polypropylene gloves. Nitrile gloves are designed to resist biological transfer because they contain an anti-bacterial agent that actively discourages any bacteria that might seek to latch on to the barrier of the nitride mask. Polypropylene gloves are commonly used in medical settings in place of disposable nitrile gloves, and they too can provide effective barrier protection against bacterial transfer.
Another way to keep bacteria out of your face while still wearing a surgical mask is to rinse your hands before you put it on. Wearing dirty or ill-fitting masks can make them ineffective. It may take several tries to find a clean pair of disposable gloves to wear during a surgery. If you change your gloves frequently, you’ll probably need to wash them more often than your other equipment.
Face cloth masks also offer the advantage of being more comfortable to wear than plastic or disposable varieties. These face shields have a wide range of adjustments, including size to fit smaller or larger faces. When a face shield doesn’t fit properly, it may shift, which could potentially shift the position of a drill bit or shift the alignment of the surgeon’s drill bits. Changing the position of a drill bit could result in a more severe injury than if a cloth mask didn’t fit at all.
It is best to thoroughly cleanse your skin before putting on any type of medical device, but using a face mask doesn’t mean you need to wash your hands. It’s perfectly acceptable to use antibacterial soap on your hands prior to the procedure as part of your pre-operative hygiene, as long as that soap isn’t strong enough to strip the skin of all its natural oils. A doctor’s note must accompany each face shield order to remind patients to wash their hands thoroughly and dry their hands thoroughly before putting on a mask. You can find many different brands of face masks at your local pharmacy or medical supply store. Wash and rinse well and don’t forget to read the doctor’s note.