A medical mask, also referred to as an oral or facial mask, is meant to be worn by medical professionals in health care settings. It’s designed to prevent inhalation of bacteria and droplets in the air by capturing airborne bacteria which are shed in the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and capturing them in a protective covering.
There are many different forms of health masks available and are used by a variety of medical professionals. Other uses include protecting the respiratory system from chemical pollutants and irritants, 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’re 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 types of medical mask materials, they are not ideal for extended periods of use.
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 generally produced from a high density foam that has an airtight seal when stuffed with medical waste and put inside 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 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 option for hospital employees.
Silicone is a natural product and therefore won’t degrade over time like other materials. It’s a water-resistant covering and can be easily molded into any shape or form, which makes it very versatile. However, it is much less readily cleaned as other materials and requires regular replacement or professional cleaning.
Since these masks are intended for use by healthcare workers, they need to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis to help keep the patient and staff shielded. 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 materials are nonporous and there are no chemicals used to wash them. They require only a simple wipe down with a damp cloth or wet wash cloth to remove excess moisture and bacteria. In cases of excessive wear, such as in the case of prolonged hospital work hours, it’s important to wash the mask often to avoid 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 permitted to sit for thirty minutes, so it doesn’t soak into the mask but rather to the skin beneath. After the sanitizer has been implemented, it’s important to rinse off the mask completely with clean water to remove any remaining sanitizer.
Cleaning masks in 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 can 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 potentially causing a serious infection.
Although sanitizing is quite important other than the obvious reason of avoiding contamination, the mask itself might also need sanitizing to eliminate food, drink or other substance which can get into the air during use. By way of instance, if there are patients that are in and out of the room throughout the course of the day, the mask can often become contaminated during their usage. Cleaning this area of the mask using a bleach solution gives a clean-air space that prevents contamination and allows the air to flow freely. Bleach solutions may also be used to sanitize tools and instruments in the room, in addition to clean up droppings from patients and staff.