Using a Face Mask For Social Distancing
Face masks have been used by people all over the world for hundreds of years. Their use is as varied as their purposes. Some face masks were created to keep dirt and grime from the face. Other face masks were created to simply lessen the effects of sun on the skin. And some were created to make the skin look younger. Regardless of the purpose, they are a useful tool in everyday life.
A face mask, also called a nasal strip, is a thin fabric piece worn around the nose and mouth, designed to keep the nasal cavity clear. Though much more common in adults, pre-symptomatic (presence-only) facial masks are quite popular among children. A pre-symptomatic mask is typically worn as protection against irritants (or airborne contaminants) rather than a preventative measure. When non-prescription equipment is not available, or when the physical distancing from the source of transmission is impossible, a cloth face mask is often worn. In either case, a transmission filter is attached to the mask in order to keep particles from the nasal area from entering the mouth.
Another common application of face masks is as prevention or relief of snoring. Though there are a variety of devices on the market that can be worn to retrain the muscles of the face to hold the jaw closed during sleep, surgical masks are still the most common treatment option. Surgical masks, either a nose or a chin piece, are worn to reposition the lower jaw into position to keep it from falling open while the user sleeps. The process of wearing a surgical mask as a prevention or relief method has historically been used more often with snoring than with other forms of sleep apnea.
Face masks have also been used as a treatment for allergic reactions. Masks are often used to wash out the nose when the individual attempts to wash their hands. When the nose becomes clogged with mucus or when washing utensils and the eyes become red, a nasal spray or saline solution may be applied using a cloth face mask. Sometimes, the treatment is combined with oral antihistamines to further eliminate the cause of the reaction. This type of treatment has been used for years with positive results.
Traditional cloth masks used during cold weather to protect the user from the wind while riding a bicycle. Masks designed with wide openings to allow the wind to pass through the face shield have been used to prevent fogging from the windshield of a vehicle. When rain occurs, the same material is used in order to prevent the face mask from becoming damaged by the water. Cloth masks can also be used to clean the face when one is outdoors and experiencing extreme temperatures. Cleaning the nasal area using a warm cloth can help clear the sinuses while removing small amounts of moisture that can collect in the nose and mouth.
When choosing which facial mask to use during a cold season, it is important to remember that one should not feel cold. Masks that are too tight can force one to breathe through their mouth. This will cause them to perspire excessively, causing the use of an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel to provide additional comfort. While these types of masks may provide some comfort, they should not be worn during extreme temperature changes as they may damage the face.