The Use of a Face Mask Can Prevent Social Distancing
The term face mask originated in early Chinese medicine, where it was used to treat breathing problems. In Chinese culture, face masks were used as anesthetic for procedures such as dissection of the nose, and other facial cosmetic surgery. History notes that the first face mask was invented around 200 BC by a Chinese doctor who was studying the effects of light on the skin. His solution was based on the idea that certain colors caused different effects on different parts of the body. Thus, by using a white cloth as the face mask, breathing problems and skin damage could be controlled.
Historically, face masks were worn either by the doctors themselves or by other staff members, such as the nurses or the ward nurses. A cloth face mask was a simple mask, typically made out of coarse, common textiles, most commonly cotton. When cloth masks were not readily available, when physical distancing was impossible, and if not possible, when two layers of fabric were not feasible, cloth masks quickly gained popularity.
As time went by, various forms of face mask emerged, each with its own purpose, style, and application method. Some were meant to be worn at the nose, while others were meant to be worn on the lips. These different types of masks had different functions and are worn differently today. During cold weathers and for respiratory infections, doctors often wore nose masks, which were either disposable or made out of plastic. During hot weather, these same doctors switched to using lip balms and glosses for their breathing needs.
In order to keep the face mask from getting dirty and smelly, it was necessary to have special fabric brushes that would clean the material of the face mask. In times when the virus did not affect the virus itself, the fabric of the mask was often changed regularly so that any droplets that might fall off would not enter the patient’s body. The same process is still used today, with new materials being introduced so that any droplets that fall off do not enter the patient’s body.
Today, the use of face masks help prevent the transmission of the deadly virus that causes pneumonia, HIV, and SARS. These highly contagious viruses are airborne and can easily spread between people who have a standing contingency of the virus, or between those who do not. Because they cannot be seen, they also cannot be bartered, traded, or given away. The person who has the illness does not need to touch the person who has the disease in order to transmit it. However, when an individual with the sickness touches the other person who has the contagion, there is the possibility of transmission, which can be a great concern, especially during funerals or other times when large groups of people will gather together.
Using a face mask during these times reduces the risk of transmitting the disease. It has also been shown that individuals will be more likely to adhere to the guidelines of a face mask if they are wearing one, as opposed to when they are not. Face masks also protect from the spreading of bacteria and viruses that are on the wind. They remain on for the most part the entire time that they are in use, which greatly lessens the chances of a person transferring them to others. This type of social distancing makes it very difficult for the disease to spread and makes the lives of individuals living with the disease much easier.