A surgical face mask, also called a medical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical health professionals during surgical procedures. Surgical masks designed for this purpose are meant to prevent infection in personnel and reducing the risk of accidental injuries to staff by capturing airborne bacteria and droplets from the mouth and nose of the wearer. This reduces the risk of transfer of disease, germs and infections to the surgical site.
There are a variety of masks available in the market designed for this purpose and to meet different healthcare needs. These include the disposable face masks, which can be easily changed depending on the situation. These types of masks have clear plastic lenses, which can be easily wiped with a piece of paper and do not allow air to enter the nose and mouth area. The nose and mouth openings are clear so that it can be easy to breathe, even with a mask on. There are also oxygen absorbers designed for situations where there could be trouble breathing because of inadequate oxygen supply.
In most situations where disposable masks are used, it is advisable for personnel to use disposable gloves when they perform skin puncture or other similar procedures to reduce the risk of contamination to the work environment. When the wearer is required to wear face masks while handling contaminated material or animals, it is advisable for them to wash their hands thoroughly before removing the mask. As much as possible, these persons should wash the hands in hot water and dry them with a clean towel. If necessary, they can also wash the hands in soap and rinse again. It is always preferable to wash hands thoroughly prior to touching contaminated objects to reduce risks of being infected.
Medical professionals, who perform surgical procedures, should wear disposable plastic surgical masks, as well. The reason behind this is that it helps to minimize the risks of infection from unsanitary conditions. While a surgical mask is generally considered to be more comfortable than disposable cloths face masks, there are various exceptions, such as in situations where the procedure must be performed while a patient is unconscious. The plastic surgical mask is therefore often a better choice, especially for those who have to perform many such operations during a single day.
Respirators may also be used to protect the personnel in the health care industry, from respiratory infections. The materials used to make a respirator for this purpose are usually referred to as facemasks. A respirator acts like a face mask and in fact, there are specific design features that distinguish one type of face mask from another. The materials used for making a face mask may be either disposable or non-disposable. The non-disposable type can be washed after each use, unlike disposable ones. A respirator is normally worn as an additional protection against dust and other particles in the environment.
Cleaning and maintaining medical devices, such as face masks, is relatively easy. Most devices can be wiped with a clean wash cloth and they should not be put into the dishwasher. Disposable face masks should not be put into the dishwasher, as they may contain contaminants which may affect the device’s performance. This includes bacteria, which is usually present in healthcare settings, as well as virus and other microorganism like fungi, which are extremely harmful.