A facial mask is a cover for the nose and mouth, designed primarily of common textiles, most often cotton. The materials used in face masks have evolved over time to include synthetic and natural fibers. Natural fibers have historically had better breathability and were more natural looking; however, synthetic fibers are inexpensive and frequently machine washable, making them more practical for home use. Synthetic fibers, while often made of man-made products, are more likely to have a chemical smell to them.
A face mask serves several purposes in the healthcare setting. One of these is to isolate the patient from the environment in which they are being assessed. In some cases, healthcare personnel may feel obligated to apply traditional clinical interventions to certain patients, such as using anesthetic or IV, due to the patient’s inability to free themselves from a tight-fitting face mask. Face masks can also be used to limit exposure of healthcare workers to potentially harmful and infectious substances. Face masks can also be worn to improve circulation of blood and other fluids in the face. Finally, a face mask can be worn during routines such as cleaning the hands or preparing a patient for rhinoplasty or other procedures.
One of the reasons that face masks to protect the nose and mouth is because they prevent the entry of vapors, dust, and other airborne particles into the patient’s respiratory system. It is important that healthcare workers are aware of the potential risks of inhaling these particles. In addition to the potential damage that this type of exposure can cause, if a healthcare worker is allergic to the airborne particles, then the presence of a face mask can help prevent exposure. Nasal strips can also be used to prevent entry of dust and other allergens into the nose and mouth.
Face masks can also provide a measure of comfort to patients who are undergoing weight loss or other medical procedures. During these procedures, it may be difficult for a patient to breathe in the normal fashion after the large-particle droplets have fallen from the throat. However, with the help of a face mask, breathing can be assisted even when there is a loss of oxygen. As smaller-sized droplets fall from the throat, it can reduce the amount of time that a patient needs to recover from surgery or illness. If a surgical mask were not worn, then an expectorant may need to be used to provide relief to the patient. This can cause significant discomfort, and further complications can result.
The use of a face mask may also aid a patient who is allergic to typical antiseptic mouth rinses, such as those used to wash hands or clean the mouth. Antiseptics are sometimes used on patients who are ill or who are having respiratory issues. However, antiseptics are considered generally toxic, and therefore, when used in an expectorant, they can make a person very sick. The presence of antiseptics in the expectorant can prevent this adverse reaction, which can be dangerous to the individual’s health.
The use of a face mask becomes necessary in situations where there is difficulty of breathing because of a breathing problem caused by a collapsed lung or air sac. A patient may suffer serious respiratory issues if he or she was unable to take in enough oxygen while undergoing surgery or illness. Because these problems can cause death, the individual must be properly ventilationilated. However, the use of n95 respirators can allow patients to breathe normally even if there is a reduced supply of oxygen.