Wearing, removing, and discarding are important steps in using the mask. People query about how to use face masks correctly. The correct use of a face mask provides adequate protection against large microorganisms and dust particles.
What Is A Surgical Face Mask?
Surgical face masks are rectangular and available in various colors. These loose-fitting masks are disposable. To hold the mask on the mouth, the masks are provided with elastic bands at both ends. These elastic bands are looped to the ears. For placing the mask well attached to the nose, a metal strip is also provided on the upper side. The surgical masks are also known as dental masks, medical masks, and procedure masks. The surgical masks, if properly worn, protect from the large particles to enter the nose. These may include large microorganisms present in droplets and sprays. Because of the absence of a complete seal around your mouth, these masks are not recommended for protection against small particles and coronavirus.
The mask has three layers and the function of three layers are as follows;
1. Fluid Repelling Layer
The first of the outermost layers repels the liquid to which it encounters. This prevents the liquid from seeping into the mouth and respiratory tract.
2. Germ-barrier Layer
The second layer prevents the entry of large particles.
3. Moisture-absorbing Layer
The third layer is meant to exhale clean air and absorbs sweat and moisture.
Many people have queries that are surgical masks are effective against coronavirus. The answer is that surgical face masks are not recommended for prevention against coronavirus.
When Should You Wear A Face Mask?
Wearing of surgical facemask performs the following two important functions;
1. Protects You From Large Particles
Wearing a mask will protect you from large micro-organisms and large particles. It may protect you when someone suffering from respiratory illness sneezes or coughs. Further, it also prevents the entry of dust particles to enter the respiratory tract that may initiate allergic reactions.
[Also Read: When to see a doctor for cough]
2. Prevents Others From Contracting Infection
Surgical masks not only protect you but also protect others from contracting infections. This is the case when you are suffering from a contagious disease. The mask will filter the exhaled air and does not allow the large-organism to pass through it.
How To Use A Face Mask Correctly?
Putting the surgical masks correctly is a prerequisite for maintaining their efficacy. A proper size mask is recommended for children. Generally, the mask is not advised for children below the age of two years without supervision and for those people who have difficulty in breathing. The surgical mask is correctly worn through the following steps;
- The person should follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times.
- Proper hand hygiene techniques should be followed when wearing the mask.
- Always pick and hold your mask with the ear loops.
- Hold the mask in the way that the metallic strip is on the upper side with folds of the outer side facing downwards.
- Loop the elastic bands around your ears and mold the metallic strip on your nose.
- Ensure that your mouth and nose are fully covered with the mask.
- Make sure that you adjust your mask in a way to prevent the air from coming in through the sides of the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask with your hands after wearing it.
What You Should Not Do When Wearing A Surgical Mask?
To get optimum prevention from air-borne pathogens and large particles, you should avoid doing certain things after wearing the mask. These include;
- Avoid touching the mask with your hand as your hands may get contaminated and increase the risk of infection.
- Not using the mask more than once. It should also not be used if the mask gets soiled or damaged.
- Do not tightly loop the mask around ears as this may lead to discomfort.
- Do not try to hang the mask in one ear while talking and then again looping it.
- Do not hang the mask around your neck as it may be the source of contamination.
How To Remove And Discard A Surgical Mask?
Many people ask about how to use face masks correctly. Removing and discarding the mask is an important step in using the mask. As the used surgical mask may contain microorganisms thus care should be taken while removing and discarding the mask. Following are steps to be followed before removing the mask;
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitize with effective sanitizer.
- Do not remove the mask by touching the mask itself. Hold the mask from its loops and remove it safely from the face.
- Discard the mask in the lidded trash bin.
- Immediately sanitize your hands or wash them with soap and water.
Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and more.