When Should a Surgical Mask Be Worn?

Christina Dodd 

The practice of medicine on occasion demands an undertaking of procedures that put patients as well as care givers and medical staff at risk of infections. Surgical face masks were introduced in the practice of medicine at the start of the 20th century. Their use was deemed essential to protect the patients from the microorganisms that were being expelled from the respiratory tracts of the healthcare staff during surgical and clinical actions. Effectiveness of masks has been proved in the 21st century with the control of widespread swine flu pandemic. Here are some more reasons and situations that make it prudent to don surgical masks.

Surgical Mask Be Worn

One of the primary concerns for all healthcare workers and staff in any health care facility is the prevention and curbing of infections in the hospital. While different medicos at different levels, such as nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists, etc. have different concerns when it comes to avoiding the spread of infection, what’s common is their desire to curb the agents that cause the infection right at the outset.

The trend of wearing surgical attire and process of donning gloves, gowns and masks before surgery dates back to the late 17th century. All persons even remotely connected with the medical world are aware that live microorganisms are shed from body parts such as exposed skin, mucous membranes, hair, etc.

Surgical Mask

There have been several studies that question the effectiveness of surgical face masks and other face masks in reducing the spread of infection from one person to the other. However, none of them questions the fact that these are very useful for the protection of the members of the surgical team from contaminated contacts.

Complex issues are emerging day after day in the areas of infection control and protection of all patients as well as health care professionals from in site, surgical and hospital infections which will need a lot of research to sort out but none questions the ability of surgical face masks to aid in preventing infections.

There are essentially two important reasons for using medical face masks and specifically, surgical face masks:-

  • Respiratory droplets from doctors, nurses and patients have to be prevented from being expelled from the mouth and nose directly into the environment.
  • Eye protection purposes, as exposure has to be prevented to the mucous membrane of the wearer from splashes of blood or body fluids.

The right way to wear medical face masks is as follows:

way to wear face masks
  • Masks have to be worn in such a way that they cover the nose as well as the mouth so that the gap between the face and the mask is minimized.
  • Mask should not be touched when it is worn.
  • When the mask becomes damp or humid, it should be replaced with a clean, dry one.
  • They are categorized as clinical waste, and hence should not be used multiple times. They should be disposed of after one use.
  • Hands should be decontaminated by washing with water and soap after disposing the used mask. Alcohol based sanitizers can also be used.
  • Scope Medical Supply has the widest range of surgical face masks and medical face masks online, check out our entire range at http://www.scopemedicalsupply.com/ or leave your queries in the comments section below.

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Editor Review by : Christina Dodd
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