A surgical face mask, sometimes called a medical face mask, is an essential personal protective equipment worn during many medical procedures by healthcare workers. The masks protect the wearer’s nasal cavity and mouth from particles and dust that may cause serious problems. A variety of materials are used to create these protective masks. The traditional surgical face mask is made up of plastic or latex and is usually designed with the patient’s shape and size in mind. These masks have changed only slightly over the years to allow for better fit and more comfortable use.
A large plastic face mask that covers the entire nose, mouth, chin and cheek areas can be difficult to use for someone who struggles with breathing normally because it traps their mouth and prevents them from breathing smoothly. A more flexible type allows the wearer to breathe easier and is designed to mold to the shape of the wearer’s face. These new designs also allow for positioning of the mask more accurately to prevent displacement of the mask within the wearer’s nose when they talk, eat or drink. When new technology improves the quality of manufacturing, some masks can be adjusted more precisely than ever before to provide the smoothest seal and the safest protection for the wearer.
Face masks are used to prevent the spread of several serious illnesses including colds and the flu. Pandemic face mask functions by drawing moisture away from the skin to keep the wearer comfortable. People who suffer from respiratory problems, allergies or asthma often find this particularly useful. Many people who are unaccustomed to talking on their hands may find this beneficial. A simple pandemic mask is often enough to keep a person who is unaccustomed to social distancing.
The traditional mask has been improved upon to provide more fit and comfort and to prevent slippage. The most common application method is to tie the mask’s elasticized cuffs to a headband. The elasticized cuffs are then used to pull the mask over the head to cover the breathing passageway. This method is easy to do but does require a bit of manual labor to pull on the mask every time the person removes their headband. The elastic headbands can also be used to tie directly to ear loops to prevent any slipping when breathing.
The newest face mask technology has evolved to prevent slippage even while the mask is worn. A new type of soft polyurethane mucous lining is used along the nose and inside the nostrils. A flap is created within the lining to allow air to flow through the nose. This facemask, which is slightly larger than the traditional mask, has a hard outer surface that extends from the bridge of the nose and pushes outward to create a smooth seal against the cheeks. Unlike the previous type, this newer technology allows the wearer to talk, breathe and even eat comfortably because the air doesn’t escape.
Some medical professionals who provide care to severely ill patients have found the use of a face mask as a lifesaver. Doctors who wear these devices have been able to increase the patient’s oxygenation levels by up to 30 percent by placing them in the correct positions on the stretcher. Surgical masks have also been worn to prevent snoring caused by tongue blockages which often require open mouth surgery.