A medical mask, also referred to as an oral or facial mask, is supposed to be worn by medical professionals in health care settings. It’s designed to reduce inhalation of bacteria and droplets in the air by capturing airborne bacteria which are shed in the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and catching them in a protective covering.
There are lots of different forms of medical masks available and are used by a variety of medical professionals. Other uses 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 because of their ability to resist bacteria and other contaminants while maintaining sufficient ventilation. But while they’re resistant to infections and contamination, latex masks can deteriorate and may not provide adequate ventilation or are too thin. While they are stronger than many other types of medical mask materials, they are not ideal for long periods of usage.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam or High-Density Silicon, is a fairly new type of medical 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 filled with medical waste and put inside the hospital.
Styrofoam is typically 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 patient’s sneezing, coughing or breathing heavily. They are more expensive than other medical mask materials but have shown to be an effective option for hospital employees.
Silicone is a natural product and therefore will not degrade over time like other materials. It has a water-resistant covering and can be easily molded into any shape or form, which makes it very versatile. However, it is much less easily cleaned as other materials and requires regular replacement or specialist cleaning.
Since these masks are designed for use by healthcare workers, they need to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis to keep the patient and staff shielded. This should be done by a trained professional using antibacterial solutions, which is usually included in any equipment bought by the hospital or medical facility.
Cleaning is simple 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 new infection-free atmosphere.
The solution should then be allowed 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 the mask off 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 correctly can prevent infections and reduce costs by protecting the staff and patients from contaminants that could infect them. Even a simple solution of one cup of bleach diluted in two quarts of water is enough to purge and sterilize the mask, preventing it from spreading bacteria and potentially causing a severe infection.
Although sanitizing is very important besides the obvious reason of avoiding contamination, the mask itself may also need sanitizing to remove food, drink or other material that may 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 frequently become contaminated during their usage. Cleaning this region of the mask with a bleach solution provides a clean-air area 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.