A medical face mask, also called a surgical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical health practitioners during healthcare procedures. Surgical masks are designed to prevent infection in patients and reducing the risk of infections in treating staff and patients by capturing airborne bacteria and droplets on the skin of the wearer. Face masks used in the healthcare industry are required to meet stringent hygiene requirements. Healthcare organisations require staff to adhere to strict health standards when handling these products. These standards are implemented through the Health and Safety Regulations and the International Health, Safety and Promotion Act.
Health and safety regulations state that all masks must be approved by an independent body such as the Comptia. Comptia’s International Standard for Face Mask is the most recent standard recognised in the UK. This group is the major governing body for medical device standards. All healthcare organisations in the UK require all their staff to wear face masks while performing their work.
An individual who is wearing a face mask should make sure that he or she cleans their face mask thoroughly before using it for the first time. This is because germs and bacteria can build up in the mask over time, if it has not been cleaned properly. This can make a person who has a cold or flu feel unwell or even worse. By cleaning his or her face mask at least 20 seconds before use, a sick person will help reduce the risk of them contracting a cold or flu.
When cleaning a surgical mask, a person may need to use a wet soft cloth to wash off large pieces of hair, dirt or facial droppings, as these items can block the ventilation system of the device. Large particles of hair should be washed with a commercial hair washing product, as a surgical mask may need to be cleaned using water and bleach frequently. Once these items have been washed, they should be dried in the air-conditioned unit, instead of in the bathroom. A small amount of bleach may need to be added to the water, in order to kill any bacteria that could still be present in the droplets. After the surgical mask has been cleaned, it should be left to dry in the air-conditioned unit, for the best protection.
An individual can help reduce the risk of contracting a disease or illness by having his or her face coverings or masks cleaned regularly by a healthcare professional. An ounce of antibacterial soap should be used on a daily basis when using these devices for washing, according to medical experts. Regular hand washing with soap and water is also important to ensure that the devices are kept clean. To disinfect these medical devices, a 10% solution of chlorine bleach should be added to one glass of warm water, according to public health experts.
Cleaning a surgical face mask is essential to maintaining the quality of the device. Sterilizing devices is easier than it sounds, because there are disposable materials that can be used to disinfect the devices. For those who are concerned about the effects that the virus that causes influenza may have on their respiratory system, a flu vaccination is recommended. Having a flu mask or respirator that has been properly cleaned can help prevent the spread of this potentially deadly infection.