A medical mask, also called 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 air by capturing airborne bacteria which are shed from the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and capturing them in a protective covering.
There are many different types of medical masks available and are used by many different 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 dangerous 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 make 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 contaminants, latex masks can deteriorate and may not provide sufficient ventilation or are too thin. While they are stronger than many other types of health mask materials, they aren’t ideal for extended periods of usage.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam or High-Density Silicon, is a fairly new sort of health mask material. This type of mask is like a plastic container, which is usually made of a high density foam which has an airtight seal when stuffed with medical waste and put inside the hospital.
Styrofoam is normally thick enough to prevent germs from entering the individual ‘s respiratory system and is designed in such a way that air can be pumped through the mask quickly. Because it is not thick, it’s also able to move around freely, keeping the nose clean and the mouth dry and avoiding contamination from the patient’s sneezing, coughing or breathing heavily. They are more expensive than other medical mask substances but have shown to be an effective choice for hospital employees.
Silicone is a natural product and therefore 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 is much less easily cleaned as other materials and requires frequent replacement or professional cleaning.
Since these masks are intended for use by healthcare employees, they should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis to help keep the patient and staff protected. This should be done by a trained professional using antibacterial solutions, which is typically 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. In cases of excessive wear, like in the case of prolonged hospital work hours, it’s important to clean the mask often to prevent contamination and ensure a fresh infection-free atmosphere.
To disinfect the mask, sanitizer solutions should be poured into a spray bottle and allowed to soak in the foam. The solution should then be allowed to sit for 30 minutes, so it doesn’t soak into the mask but rather to the skin beneath. After the sanitizer has been applied, it’s important to rinse off the mask completely with clean water to remove any residual sanitizer.
Cleaning masks in the hospital can be a pain for the staff members, but if done correctly 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 effectively disinfect and sterilize the mask, preventing it from spreading bacteria and possibly causing a severe infection.
Although sanitizing is very important other than the obvious reason of preventing contamination, the mask itself may also need sanitizing to eliminate food, drink or other substance that may get into the air during use. For instance, if there are patients that are in and out of the room during the course of this day, the mask can frequently become contaminated during their usage. Cleaning this region of the mask using a bleach solution provides a clean-air area that prevents contamination and allows the air to flow freely. Bleach solutions can also be used to sanitize tools and instruments in the room, in addition to clean up droppings from patients and staff.