A surgical face mask, also called a facial mask, is designed to be worn during medical procedures by medical health care professionals. Surgical masks are designed to prevent infections in medical staff and preventing accidental exposure by capturing airborne pathogens in liquid drops and aerosols in the mouth and nose of the wearer. Medical professionals who use these masks may have to wear them for several hours each day. The design of these masks has changed over the years with improved comfort, fit and functionality. This article is aimed at providing you with the information you need to choose the right mask for your situation.
The history of face masks begins during the time when the face was covered with a single piece of cloth called a shawl. This cloth was hung loosely over the nose and mouth to provide ventilation. Face cloths underwent various modifications throughout the centuries with new additions being made in the shaping of the cloth, material and even in the colouring of the cloth itself. In modern times a face mask is designed for the purposes of providing protection from irritants or infectious vapours released from the nose or mouth of the person wearing it. They are often used for breathing through a tube running from the mouth towards the lungs.
There are three main types of face masks that have been identified as being effective at reducing or social distancing associated with breathing through the nose or mouth. The first type is the nasal mask. Designed to open the nasal passage and provide breathing through the nose this type of mask is frequently used in pandemic preparation and in maintaining influenza prevention. These masks are most effective during the morning when the air is dry and bacteria is less prevalent.
The second type of face mask is one used in the washing machine. These masks work best in the morning when the air is drier and bacteria is more rampant. Face masks which are used in the washing machine are often meant for those who do not have trouble breathing through the mouth or nose and for those who wash their hands frequently or whose hands are washed daily but not on a regular basis. However, these devices can also be useful to those whose hands or nasal passages are easily irritated by washing machine soap residues.
The third type is the cloth face coverings. These are most commonly used in situations where it is impossible to breathe through the mouth or nose due to clogged breathing passageways or other such obstacles. Cloth fabrics are therefore excellent solutions for individuals whose hands and nasal passages are constantly irritated by washing machine residues. Cotton fabrics are generally acknowledged to have the least reaction with cotton clothes as well as with some other fabrics. Therefore, cotton cloth face coverings are by far the most common fabric used for such situations.
As well as being effective at preventing and treating skin abrasions and irritations, face masks may help prevent bacterial growth. Some of the materials used to make face masks may help prevent the spread of ringworm and similar fungal infections, since they prevent the spread of fungi through contact with the skin. However, as ringworm is contagious, it is important to note that the use of such products in the wrong way may also spread the disease. For instance, ringworm, which is spread by direct contact with infected skin typically has a ten-day incubation period. So, the use of a ringworm cream which prevents contact between the infection and the skin is very important. A variety of other materials such as plastic microbes may also help prevent bacterial growth and therefore spread; they are especially useful when applied to dry, cracked skin.