A surgical face mask, also called an endoscopic surgical mask, is designed to be worn by healthcare workers during surgical procedures in order to prevent air transmission of microbes from the operating room to patients and the treating physician. The mask is meant to be tight fitting to keep air from flowing past the mask and into the patient’s breathing area. Masks are typically made of plastic and have either a polygonal or a curved shape to fit over the patient’s head. Patients wear these protective masks during surgical procedures and recovery at home while they recover. These protective masks can help reduce the risk of air borne microbial infections (BBIs) that can occur during surgery, in the hospital or in the patient’s home after surgery.
During surgery, face masks worn during procedures are often needed to breathe properly. A disposable breathing mask is worn during and after the procedure to prevent airborne transmission of microbes. Since disposable breathing masks cannot be used during the time a patient is at home, they are often replaced with cloth face masks worn during the recovery period and throughout the day while the patient is unable to remove his or her mask. Cloth face masks are very easy to use. They are often washed with hand or machine washable products. This ensures that the mask is ready to be worn again when needed without concern for getting it dirty.
Another application of a surgical mask involves positioning the patient’s face over a mouthpiece that is placed into his or her nose. Masks can be secured around the nose, placed over the mouthpiece, or be removed and placed on top of the mouthpiece for a custom fit. A plastic flap is cut at the base of the nose to allow the surgeon to place a nasal guard. After this, a plastic tube with a valve is placed through the valve to seal off the nose.
For individuals who frequently get sick or whose teeth are easily stained, disposable plastic strips are often used as nasal and mouth guards. These strips can be obtained from the office supply store and applied to the outside of the nose and mouth before they are fastened onto the face mask. The individual may have to spend a few minutes removing them and putting them away after getting sick so that he or she does not risk getting sick again. These strips can be reused several times in order to keep the individual’s mouth and nose clean.
Patients recovering from an illness or surgery who find themselves feeling ill for the first time will commonly wear disposable aprons, similar to the ones used by nursing staff. However, in cases where an individual has not received any type of hospital treatment in several days and cannot be expected to show any signs of improvement within a few hours, he or she may wear a face mask instead of an a scrub suit to avoid spending too much time in the waiting area. Face masks are typically worn for at least six hours, although patients who receive no medical treatment are sometimes allowed to wear them for up to twenty-four hours. Those patients who are hospitalized will also wear a face mask while being monitored by a nurse, in order to make sure the individual does not waste time socializing in the waiting area while waiting for medical treatment.
Even though disposable masks have become a popular choice among the public, some parts of the United States have still banned the use of facial masks to protect the public from infectious diseases. The reasoning behind these bans is that people from the rural regions of the United States are at risk of developing a number of deadly infections, such as dengue fever, hepatitis B and even polio. For this reason, some regions still allow the general public to wear surgical masks during outbreaks of these illnesses. This ban varies from state to state, so it is important to make sure you check your local regulations before committing to wearing a surgical face mask.