A medical mask, also referred to as an oral or facial mask, is meant to be worn by medical professionals in healthcare settings. It’s designed to reduce inhalation of bacteria and droplets in the atmosphere by capturing airborne bacteria that are shed in the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and catching them in a protective covering.
There are lots of unique forms of medical masks available and are used by a variety of medical professionals. Some of the common uses for medical masks include providing protection to the respiratory system and eyes from infectious disease and minimizing exposure to contaminated equipment. Other applications include protecting the respiratory system from chemical irritants and contaminants, reducing exposure to harmful agents, preventing damage to the eyes, skin, and nasal cavities and helping to protect the skin from burns and abrasions.
The many different materials used to create medical masks vary from latex to silicon. Latex masks have long been a preferred material by many medical professionals for their ability to resist bacteria and other contaminants while maintaining adequate ventilation. However, while they are resistant to infections and contamination, latex masks can deteriorate and may not provide sufficient ventilation or are too thin. While they are more durable than many other kinds of health mask materials, they aren’t ideal for extended periods of use.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam or High-Density Silicon, is a relatively new type of medical mask material. This type of mask is like a plastic container, which is generally produced from a high density foam which has an airtight seal when filled with medical waste and put within the hospital.
Styrofoam is normally thick enough to prevent germs from getting into the patient’s respiratory system and is designed in such a way that air can be pumped through the mask quickly. Because it’s not thick, it’s also able to move around freely, keeping the nose clean and the mouth dry and preventing contamination from the individual ‘s sneezing, coughing or breathing heavily. They’re more expensive than other medical mask substances but have shown to be an effective choice for hospital employees.
Silicone is a natural product and so will not degrade over time like other materials. It’s a water-resistant covering and can be easily molded into any shape or form, making it very versatile. However, it’s much less easily cleaned as other materials and requires regular replacement or professional cleaning.
Since these masks are designed for use by healthcare workers, they should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis to keep the patient and staff protected. This should be done by a trained professional using antibacterial solutions, which is usually included in any equipment purchased by the hospital or medical facility.
Cleaning is easy since the substances are nonporous and there are no chemicals used to wash them. They require just a simple wipe down with a damp cloth or wet wash cloth to remove excess moisture and germs. In cases of excessive wear, like in the case of prolonged hospital work hours, it’s important to wash the mask often to prevent contamination and ensure a new infection-free atmosphere.
The solution should then be permitted to sit for 30 minutes, so it doesn’t soak into the mask but instead into the skin beneath. After the sanitizer has been applied, it’s important to rinse off the mask completely with clean water to remove any remaining sanitizer.
Cleaning masks at the hospital can be a pain for the staff members, but if done properly can prevent infections and reduce costs by protecting the staff and patients from contaminants which could infect them. Even a simple solution of one cup of bleach diluted in two quarts of water is sufficient to purge and sterilize the mask, preventing it from spreading bacteria and possibly causing a severe infection.
Although sanitizing is quite important besides the obvious reason of preventing contamination, the mask itself may also need sanitizing to eliminate food, drink or other material that can get into the air during use. By way of example, if there are individuals who are in and out of the space throughout the course of this day, the mask can often become contaminated during their usage. Cleaning this area of the mask with a bleach solution gives a clean-air space that prevents contamination and allows the air to flow freely. Bleach solutions can also be used to sanitize tools and instruments in the room, as well as clean up droppings from patients and staff.