A surgical face mask, also called a medical face mask, is designed to be worn during many medical procedures by medical health professionals. Surgical masks designed for protection are worn to prevent the entry of infectious substances in the patient’s blood stream and preventing the spread of infections to staff and patients. Face masks used in hospitals are required to meet standard operating procedures and guidelines. Face masks can also help prevent foreign objects entering into the patient’s nasal passage. The most common uses for surgical masks are for respiration control, barrier prevention and air purification.
Hospitals will commonly require the use of a face mask known as a “Covid-19 mask.” In hospital settings, it is common for a patient to wear the Covid-19 mask for breathing while awake. The purpose of the mask is to prevent contamination of the nose and mouth by foreign materials and particles that may be breathed in by the patient. In the operating room, a doctor will remove the mouthpiece prior to starting any procedure and place a mask on the face to prevent the escape of air into the nose and throat. In general, the length of a patient’s surgical period will determine the type of mask that is required.
Patients in respiratory care will wear a full face mask or a “CPAP” (continuous positive airway pressure) mask while they are awake. CPAP masks are designed to keep a patient’s airway open by creating a constant stream of pressurized air. Although these types of masks may require a bit of maintenance, they provide the wearer with comfort and relief of symptoms and they are safe and effective for most individuals when worn consistently.
All surgical and dental staff on duty will need to wear suitable masks while performing their duties. These types of masks work best in humid or dry environments and must be resistant to extreme temperature changes. They also need to fit well and should be comfortable to wear. Plastic, latex, or foam face masks work best for this environment and have been the standard medical face masks for decades.
Face masks that are worn to cover just the nose work better for some people than a full face mask. Some individuals experience an uncomfortable feeling around the nostrils with a cloth mask. However, most people do not feel this way. If a cloth mask does not provide comfort, then a full face mask may be required. When selecting a face mask for this purpose, one needs to consider factors such as comfort, ease of use, and effectiveness.
Masks are available in many different sizes so everyone can find one that works for them. Masks can be purchased online or at a pharmacy in the community where the patient lives. If using an over the counter face mask to prevent the spread of a pandemic, then it is important to purchase these items from a trusted source. Many pharmacies sell these products that can be used by anyone regardless of their current medical condition. Before purchasing any face mask, anyone interested in using one should consult their physician to make sure they are safe to do so.