A medical mask, commonly called a face mask, is worn by healthcare professionals during various medical procedures. It is designed to stop infection in infected staff and patients, by capturing bacteria shed from the patient’s mouth and nose and preventing liquid droplets and droppings from being airborne. This prevents patients from spreading germs to other patients and staff, which will reduce the risk of transmission of disease from patient to patient.
There are many different types of face masks, but the basic features that distinguish one from the other is the way the air is directed through the mask. Most masks work by opening to the sides of the head so that a patient can breathe through the mouth as well as their nose. Many have a seal at the top that prevents the face from getting wet, while others have a lip lock to keep a patient’s mouth closed.
The face mask design also varies a great deal depending on the type of medical procedure it is used for. An example is a bronchoscope, which is used in the medical field to assist doctors in inhaling and exhaling the patient’s air while viewing a certain part of the body. The device has two face masks: one that is used for inhalation and one that is used for exhalation. It has an elongated face with a large mouthpiece to keep the patient’s airway open. A small nasal cannula or trachea is inserted into the nostril for air to enter the patient’s lungs. While breathing through the face mask the bronchoscope operator can see images in real time.
The face mask design used in dental surgeries is very different. A dental surgeon uses one type of face mask to allow the patient to breathe through their mouth while wearing a mask that restricts air flow through the nose. The face mask is fitted with a dental trachea, which is designed for high pressure airflow only. The nose of the trachea is completely sealed to prevent water from escaping, and the airway is kept open by a rigid chin strap. This type of face mask allows the dentist to see images clearly while providing a comfortable seal to keep the patient’s face dry.
All these types of dental devices are used to provide protection for patients. The purpose of these masks is not only to keep the patient from infecting other patients, but also from avoiding infections that may result from poor hygiene practices. In some cases, such as in the case of a patient’s mouth, it may be an option to clean the face before using a device. If the face mask fails to provide sufficient coverage, one may want to use a toothbrush to gently remove any dirt and debris before removing the face mask and keeping the patient’s mouth clean. Another option is for the patient to wear a disposable paper mask to avoid spreading germs and bacteria.
While there are many types of face masks used in healthcare, it is important to remember that each face mask has its own set of considerations when used for medical purposes. No one size of face mask fits all, as each patient has unique requirements.