A medical face mask, also called a medical mouth guard, is designed to be worn by medical professionals during medical procedures. Surgeons wear these protective devices during open-heart surgery to help prevent blood clots from forming. They are also used during dental procedures to reduce the risk of gum injury and tooth decay. Medical assistants wear them when they are administering nitrous oxide for anesthetic operations.
During cold or respiratory treatments, face masks to prevent against the entry of harmful airborne particles. While some disposable plastic facemasks are equipped with enough air flow capacity to filter large volumes of patient respiratory droplets, most disposable face masks have insufficient flow capacity to circulate even a small volume of patient air. Since nasal, oral, and facial exposures to contaminated aerosol particles are common in surgical and dental procedures, face masks are essential equipment during these procedures. Surgical or dental face masks that do not effectively filter respiratory droplets can cause discomfort and skin irritation for the patient.
Many surgical and dental face masks have been made more durable to combat bacterial and fungal growth. Some medical professionals prefer the tighter fitting, more streamlined designs. Because tight-fitting face masks can prevent the entry of nasal and mouth debris, these devices are preferred over loose-fitting or baggy devices. These may cause airflow problems, and a doctor must monitor the amount of airflow through the mask. This can lead to improper breathing or respiratory failure if the level of oxygen in the patient’s blood is not sufficient.
Rigid face masks with attached exhalation valves are ideal for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). These masks serve as an additional barrier between the patient and the source of air, preventing unwanted foreign matters and contaminates from entering the patient’s lungs. The rigid face masks should be checked regularly by their care providers in order to make sure the fabric is intact and sealed properly. If the masks are not correctly used, leaks may occur in the fabric or in the air system, and the masks will not provide the required protection.
High quality face coverings can also reduce the occurrence of bacterial or fungal infections. High quality fabrics that are properly sewn can minimize the spread of bacteria and allergens. Fabric materials that are too loosely sewn can compromise the fit and function of the masks. An ill-fitted face mask can impede the flow of air, preventing the patient from breathing through the mouth. If the face coverings are too loose, the wearer’s sweat will not evaporate on its own, but instead may enter the fabric and cause skin irritation and discomfort.
Face masking is important to the health and well being of the wearer, especially when dealing with potential respiratory infection and other problems. Proper fit, proper design, and good quality materials can minimize the spread of infection, minimize the potential for allergic reaction, and reduce the discomfort of skin irritation and blockage. When the proper headgear is worn, patients can better take control over the way they feel all day long.