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 from the atmosphere by capturing airborne bacteria that are shed in the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and capturing them in a protective covering.
There are lots of different forms of health masks available and are used by many different medical professionals. Some of the common applications for medical masks include providing protection to the respiratory system and eyes from infectious disease and minimizing exposure to contaminated equipment.
The many diverse materials used to create medical masks range 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 sufficient ventilation. But while they’re resistant to infections and contaminants, 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 aren’t ideal for long periods of usage.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam or High-Density Silicon, is a relatively new type of health mask material. This sort of mask is like a plastic container, which is usually made of a high density foam which has an airtight seal when filled with medical waste and put within the hospital.
Styrofoam is typically thick enough to prevent bacteria from entering 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 individual ‘s sneezing, coughing or breathing heavily. They’re more expensive than other medical mask substances but have proven to be an effective option for hospital employees.
Silicone is a natural product and so 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 substances and requires regular replacement or professional cleaning.
Since these masks are intended for use by healthcare employees, 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 just 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 prevent contamination and ensure a fresh infection-free environment.
The solution should then be allowed to sit for thirty minutes, so it doesn’t soak in the mask but rather to the skin beneath. After the sanitizer was implemented, it’s important to rinse off the mask completely with clean water to remove any residual 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 can infect them. Even a very 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 other than the obvious reason of avoiding contamination, the mask itself may also need sanitizing to remove food, drink or other material that can get into the air during use. By way of example, if there are patients who are in and out of the room during the course of this day, the mask can frequently become contaminated during their use. Cleaning this region 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, in addition to clean up droppings from patients and staff.