A face mask, sometimes called a nasal mask, is a soft, fabric face mask worn over either the nose and mouth or over the cheeks. If physical distancing isn’t possible, and when more conventional masks aren’t available, a cloth face mask can often provide excellent facial comfort and effective anti-bacterial protection. Many masks come with built-in air purifiers and filters to improve air quality for long-term oral health. To achieve maximum results, it’s important to use a high quality face mask that is comfortable and easy to clean.
In general, all surgical masks are used for three primary purposes: breathing control, eliminating external irritants, and reducing the transmission of germ-borne pathogens. The purpose of breathing control is to keep the patient comfortable and free of obstruction and to prevent aspiration. In preventing external irritants, surgical masks help to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by facial cuts, scrapes, burns, or acne. They may also reduce edema or fluid build-up due to protein build-up from mucous leaks and perspiration. A well-fitting face mask may help to eliminate these problems.
Severe facial pain often results from air leaking from the lungs into the pleats of the forehead, leading to discomfort in the bridge of the nose and the cheekbones. Since a surgical face mask must be airtight to prevent air leakage, most manufacturers use rubber or latex spacers inside the fabric to avoid these problems. Some manufacturers make custom fit spacers as well. Other options include air-adjustable straps that allow you to adjust the mask to fit comfortably over your head. Several different face coverings serve this purpose: polystyrene face shields fit tightly over your skull; spandex or cotton face shields allow air flow but are very breathable; and mesh or vinyl covers allow some air circulation but restrict the movement of facial hairs.
“Exhalation” refers to the exchange of bodily waste, such as exhaled lungs, for a few minutes or seconds. If this activity is prolonged, “tidal volume” can exceed the exhalation rate. Air leaking from the lungs results in “racism,” a condition where staff members feel like they are pumping air into a bag, because the increased pressure in the bag forces the bag to contract. Exhaling removes pressure from the lungs and causes the release of air. Sometimes, however, “exhalation valves” or “exhalation ports” are worn on the exterior of the face shield, allowing some of the pressure exerted by physical rubbing against the face mask to escape through these ports.
The ability to breathe comfortably while working or playing helps employees stay alert. Many people may experience shortness of breath or other health complaints when ill or during flu season. Masks that allow for easy breathing increase the ability of staff members to stay alert, leading to an overall healthier work force. In the case of pandemic stress, wearing face masks while caring for sick children decreases the stress of caring for those children and helps to reduce overall worker exposure to illness.
Cleanliness and hygiene of work areas and public places are important. Face masks to prevent the spread of infection to all who enter the work area. Masks also reduce the risk of spreading of droplets to others, reducing the spread of bacteria and virus to help keep the workplace clean and healthy. Droplets can be transmitted through hands, onto surfaces and through sneezing and coughing. Therefore, it is important to ensure that everyone has a clear and reliable way to breathe. As a result, the importance of face masks becomes obvious.