A face mask is designed to provide a degree of protection against infections while allowing air exchange. Face masks are typically designed for the purpose of breathing. Face masks used for respiratory purposes are also available but do not offer the level of protection provided by masks used for breathing. Medical purposes face masks are available, but are typically designed for use by an individual who has difficulty in breathing while they are asleep.
A face mask is not designed for the purpose of blocking bacteria or airborne particles. Although the protective material on most face masks can be easily cleaned, it should be noted that disinfection is not usually performed. There are a variety of face masks that are designed to provide adequate levels of air ventilation while blocking some of the airborne contaminants.
Face masks generally marketed for use in industrial and construction applications are not medical devices. Face masks are not intended to protect against respiratory illness. Masks are generally loose fitting and cannot provide complete protection from inhaling airborne pathogens, including viruses. Masks must be worn by all individuals who engage in contact with a contaminated area, which includes workmen, patients, visitors and others who have come into direct contact with contaminated materials.
While face masks can be purchased over the counter or prescription by a doctor, they can also be purchased through an online retail outlet or pharmacy. The face mask should be fit snugly around the nose and chin and should include an air passage and lanyard to keep it secure. An airtight seal is important when using a face mask in the workplace.
When shopping for face masks, it is recommended that one test the mask for tightness before attempting to use it. If the mask is too loose, the air flow will not be completely sealed, which can lead to an increased chance of having difficulty breathing.
While many people choose a face mask because it provides a sense of security, others choose a face mask for other reasons. Some people wear face masks when participating in sports activities because they believe it can help them reduce the risk of getting an injury because of wearing a mask on their nose or mouth. Some may wear a face mask to protect the hairline from debris, while others may wear face masks to keep the skin from being exposed to chemicals in their work environment. The choice of face mask depends on the purpose for which it is purchased.