A surgical face mask, more commonly known as an emergency medical face mask is designed to be worn by medical professionals during emergency health care procedures. Surgical masks designed for use in the operating room or emergency room are designed to provide comfort and prevent the entry of viruses, bacteria and allergens into the patient’s face. Face masks are used during procedures that require the full or closed-face design to block all airway openings, including the mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Face masks for breathing are also called full face masks. An emergency room or surgical area face mask is specifically designed to be used by trauma patients with breathing problems and will have a bag attached to the face that contains oxygen.
A surgical face mask is worn to protect the patient’s head from fluids and other particles that may enter the nose, mouth or throat. Masks are designed to prevent particles from entering the nose, mouth or throat and are designed with a clear inner lining and a protective outer surface. These types of respirators or protective gear are often worn by first responders to protect their face from flying debris, falling debris, or exposed wounds. They can also be worn in industrial and commercial settings to protect workers from chemical hazards.
The size of the face mask is relative to the wearer’s height and head size to ensure adequate protection and comfort. There is no universal size for a respirator; it is determined by each individual based on factors like weight, height and head size. The six feet of distance between the tip of the nose and the top of the chin should be considered when purchasing a face mask. This rule of thumb will help prevent headaches caused by tugging on the respirator to cause the face mask to fall to the ground. When purchasing a mask, you should be able to easily breathe without breathing into an oxygen tank or pulling or tugging on the mask.
When working with or near sick individuals or animals, or when you are required to wear gloves or gowns while handling these types of hazards, face masks provide additional protection and are necessary regardless of whether you are working in an industrial, commercial or home setting. While working in or around these areas, workers should wear gowns or gloves that cover the entire body. Individuals working in an area that has a lot of biohazard exposure or contaminated surfaces need to consider the type of respirator they are wearing when choosing the face masks to wear, as biohazards can spread quickly and readily from one area to another.
There are many different types of viruses and bacteria that can spread from one person to another. For example, virus-like particles called prions can spread from one individual to another through direct contact or indirectly through air. The more common types of respiratory viruses spread through the air include adenoviruses (herpes simplex virus), rotaviruses (parainfluenza) and parainfluenza antigens. Some viruses are able to spread through the skin, including herpes simplex and shingles, and others cause no physical symptoms (such as hepatitis B) but cause fever, loss of appetite, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
While virus and bacteria can spread, there are also other preventable routes of entry. In addition to using quality N95 respirators and face masks when handling biohazards, it is important that healthcare personnel take all precautions to avoid spreading these illnesses. By using quality and effective products such as N95 respirators and face masks, healthcare workers can work to reduce the risk of being infected and improve their overall health.