Standard antiviral mask that are used in medical facilities and in working with patients are made of medical nonwoven and rubber bands applied to the ears. The purpose of these protective materials is to reduce the risk of infection with droplet-borne microorganisms, and their filtration efficiency can be even above 98%. It is worth knowing that disposable nonwoven surgical masks are not the only medical material of this type. Find out what types of masks are, how to use them correctly, and what attitude the World Health Organization takes towards them.
What protective masks can you buy on the market?
The basic rule for people using anti-virus masks should be to ensure that they are replaced regularly. This is because these protective materials function similarly to well-known filters. A surgical mask made of non-woven or certified fabric covers the mouth and nose of an infected or healthy person, and harmful microbes settle on its surface. If you wear the mask for too long, it becomes a large focus of germs, which can have the opposite effects to those desired.
In Poland, you can buy many types of masks with different effectiveness. We present medical masks that can be successfully used to fight batteries, viruses or pollution. These are:
- masks made of medical nonwoven – that is, protective materials most often used by medical personnel, as well as those recommended by international health organizations; their large surface tightly covers the user’s mouth and nose, characterized by high efficiency in air filtration; moreover, disposable masks do not restrict free breathing,
- certified fabric mask – unlike disposable non-woven masks, these products cover the face more tightly, matching its shape; masks are also thicker, but properly filter dirt and microorganisms only if they have special attestations; fabric masks are especially dedicated to protect against infection in a public place, hence they are not used in hospital settings,
- reusable canvas masks – this type of protective masks allow you to disinfect their surface after a few hours of use, and then reuse them; they are usually less effective in the fight against pathogens than the previously mentioned certified models, but nevertheless they significantly reduce the risk of infection; depending on the type, the masks are disinfected by boiling in boiling water or ironing,
- filtering masks with a valve – the installed air outlet is to facilitate the user free breathing, and thus the exhaled air is released directly through the opening on the top of the mask; there are several types of masks with a valve with a wide range of anti-microbial effectiveness.
Only correctly used medical masks reduce the risk of infection
However, to be able to talk about the effectiveness of the protective mask in the fight against microorganisms, its use should be carried out in accordance with the appropriate rules. Each of them – also a surgical mask used by medical personnel, worn and removed must be as follows:
- The mask put on the face must cover the mouth and nose thoroughly. The user should ensure that it does not stand out of the face and does not leave gaps. It’s best to put on anti-virus masks after disinfecting or washing your hands.
- On the surface of the mask harmful microbes settle, hence it is so important not to touch it when it is on the face. However, if contact with the mask occurs, it is necessary to wash your hands.
- If the surgical mask causes a feeling of strong moisture on the face (even if it has been applied relatively recently), it is a sign that it should be replaced with a new one.
- It is important that the disposable face masks land in a closed trash immediately after removing them from the face – do not reuse them, as they can be a carrier of dangerous microbes!
- When removing the mask, remember not to touch the surface . It’s best to catch only the bands applied to the ears, and after removing the mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
As you can see, wearing masks is not a protection against harmful microbes in itself – responsibility and compliance with hygiene rules by their users are equally important.
Should antiviral mask be used by healthy people?
There are more and more questions about whether surgical masks can be used as a preventive method of fighting infections. Some argue that these protection measures should be reserved only for patients and potentially infected people, which reduces the risk of passing the infection to another person. On the other hand, there are voices that healthy people should also use masks to care for their own health – especially when they are in public space. How is it actually
Approved face mask should be worn by a person healthy, above all when it is present, or has even a single contact with patients to infections, infections or other ailments caused by bacteria and viruses. This reduces the risk of microbial transmission by droplet from the body of an infected person. What’s more, the surgical mask can also be used by healthy people in places where exposure to contact with others is high . This is especially true in the spring and autumn periods, when the risk of infection is usually the highest.
Protective masks and WHO recommendations
The World Health Organization often talks about how to use medical masks and who they can be used for. The latest recommendations show that disposable face masks should be used not only by sick people and potential carriers of microorganisms that cause the infection, but also healthy people at risk of infection.
According to WHO, protective masks should be worn by patients with signs of infection, as well as those who care for them . In addition, the organization urges that if masks are available they should also be worn by seniors or people suffering from chronic diseases . WHO emphasizes at the same time that surgical masks are among the means of preventing infections, and their users cannot neglect the correct rules of use or regular replacement.
Only correctly worn surgical masks can reduce the risk of infection with bacteria, viruses or impurities that enter the body by droplet. Types of masks include not only disposable anti-virus medical masks , but also models from certified fabric, and finally reusable canvas masks. It is worth that in particular patients with symptoms of cough or runny nose use these medical materials, although there is nothing to prevent them from being used by healthy people who deal with infected. WHO and doctors emphasize that the use of masks should go hand in hand with compliance with basic hygiene rules.