A medical mask, also called an oral or facial mask, is supposed to be worn by medical professionals in healthcare settings. It’s designed to reduce inhalation of bacteria and droplets from the air by capturing airborne bacteria that are shed in the mouth and nostrils of the wearer and capturing them in a protective covering.
There are many different types of health masks available and are used by many different 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 diverse materials used to make medical masks vary from latex to silicon. But while they are resistant to infections and contamination, latex masks can deteriorate and may not provide adequate ventilation or are too thin. While they are more durable than many other kinds of health 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 similar to a plastic container, which is generally produced from a high density foam which has an airtight seal when filled with medical waste and placed inside the hospital.
Styrofoam is typically thick enough to prevent bacteria 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’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’re more expensive than other medical mask materials 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 has a water-resistant covering and can be easily molded into any shape or form, which makes it very versatile. However, it’s much less easily cleaned as other materials and requires regular replacement or professional cleaning.
Since these masks are designed for use by healthcare employees, they should 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 typically 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 germs. 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 environment.
The solution should be permitted to sit for thirty minutes, so it doesn’t soak into the mask but rather into the skin beneath. After the sanitizer was applied, it’s important to rinse off the mask 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 properly can prevent infections and reduce costs by protecting the employees and patients from contaminants that can infect them. Even a simple solution of one cup of bleach diluted in two quarts of water is enough to effectively disinfect and sterilize the mask, preventing it from spreading germs and potentially causing a severe infection.
Although sanitizing is quite important other than the obvious reason of preventing contamination, the mask itself may 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 individuals that are in and out of the space throughout the course of the day, the mask may often become contaminated during their use. 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 staff and patients.