Face masks originated in Egypt and have been worn there ever since. Face masks were worn by both men and women – though the face mask was typically used by the women. A cloth face mask, also known as a veil, is a full mask generally made from common fabrics, such as cotton, commonly worn over either the nose and mouth or the cheeks. Although face masks were worn by the Egyptian pharaohs, they did not originate in that country and have actually been used by many cultures since that time.
While face masks help with physical distancing, this alone does not always suffice for the problems faced when trying to socialize or communicate with others. Many individuals have said that the cloth face mask creates an image of “snake eyes,” because the wearer appears to stare at the person speaking, creating an apparent lack of eye contact. This makes it very difficult to develop rapport. However, when using masks help with other techniques such as body language or gestures, these same techniques can be made more powerful through the use of face paint or makeup. The combination of the physical distancing of the cloth mask and the lack of eye contact creates a situation where a person can communicate without seeming threatening.
Another important use of face masking is the protection of the nose. When it becomes accidentally knocked out or ripped during the day, it is very difficult to breathe freely. For this reason, many individuals wear protective headgear or a face covering to keep the nasal area free and clear. When breathing through one’s mouth, it is easy to get trapped in the wind and feel the discomfort of blocked nasal passages.
In addition to protecting the nose and throat from irritation, the face covering can also protect the eyes from dirt, grime, or germs. When a person is outdoors, such as while gardening, washing their hands, or picking up small kids, they may inadvertently put their hands into their eyes. Dirt and grime can enter the eyes when touching surfaces, such as dirt bike paths, or dirty shovels. A simple cleaning with soap and water can eliminate this problem quickly and effectively.
Another frequently asked question is how to use a face mask for someone who has allergies or breathing problems. While there are some masks that will not work for everyone due to the individual’s overall health and environmental factors, most can be worn by almost anyone. There are several different types of face masks which serve various purposes. For example, a pediatric face mask serves a specific purpose: it prevents asthma or similar symptoms in children.
The type of face mask chosen is largely a personal preference and one dependent on the environment and circumstances. For instance, a standard cloth face covering can be worn when working in the yard or garden. In outdoor settings, such as a pool, face masks should be worn at all times and the air should be constantly circulating. Outdoor physical distancing may increase the risk of blisters, cuts, scrapes, or other injury, so always wear a safety mask in these situations.