A medical mask, also referred to as an oral or facial mask, is supposed to be worn by medical professionals in healthcare settings. It’s designed to prevent inhalation of bacteria and droplets in the atmosphere by capturing airborne bacteria which are shed from the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and catching them in a protective covering.
There are many different forms of medical 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 because of their ability to resist bacteria and other contaminants while maintaining sufficient 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 usage.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam or High-Density Silicon, is a relatively new type of medical mask material. This type of mask is similar to a plastic container, which is usually made of a high density foam that has an airtight seal when stuffed with medical waste and placed inside the hospital.
Styrofoam is normally thick enough to prevent germs from entering the patient’s respiratory system and is designed in such a way that air can be pumped through the mask immediately. 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 deeply. They are more expensive than other medical mask substances but have proven 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. for use in medical environments. However, it’s much less readily cleaned as other materials and requires frequent replacement or specialist cleaning.
Since these masks are designed 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 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 wash the mask often to avoid contamination and ensure a new infection-free atmosphere.
The solution should 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 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 that can infect them. Even a very simple solution of one cup of bleach diluted in 2 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 preventing contamination, the mask itself might also need sanitizing to remove food, drink or other material that can get into the air during use. For example, if there are patients that are in and out of the space throughout the course of the day, the mask may often 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 may also be used to sanitize tools and instruments in the room, as well as clean up droppings from staff and patients.