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A face mask, sometimes called a nasal mask, is a thick, […]

A face mask, sometimes called a nasal mask, is a thick, padded mask placed over the nose and mouth, designed to provide an extra barrier against foreign matter, allergens and bacteria. Although popular throughout the ages, face masks have actually been used since ancient times to keep dirt and other impurities out of the air we breathe. While more efficient air purifiers are available, and if physical distancing is completely impossible, a cloth face mask can make breathing much easier.

Originally used as surgical mask during surgical procedures, the modern face mask first gained popularity as a dental tool in the latter half of the twentieth century. Originally used to prevent contamination of the surgical site from airborne bacteria, the mask quickly became a favorite dental accessory, used for anything from removing moles to cleaning the teeth. The use of a nasal breather before surgery became widespread, and soon doctors found that placing a sterile cloth over the nose and blowing into the mask provided excellent patient care. Many patients wore nasal masks when taking chemotherapy treatments, as the lungs would become less contaminated if no other impure materials were present.

For decades, face masks continued to evolve and gain additional functionality. New materials and newer methods of cleaning required larger, more complex face masks that had to be worn while performing tasks such as taking x-rays or painting. In response, the medical profession developed a new face-mask design - one that could provide transmission of air throughout the head. Originating from the colloquial use of the term "covid-19", this modern version of a nasal breather has come to refer to any piece of equipment that transmits a stream of air to the face, rather than only the nose or mouth.

In recent years, the face mask has once again become a popular surgical tool, used to help maintain good oral health. The development of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) industry has led to increased knowledge about the importance of properly maintaining air quality in homes and offices. Properly maintained heating and ventilation systems are necessary to keep any building, whether it is a residential dwelling or office space, free from airborne pollutants. One such important factor is the ability to prevent the spread of disease through facials conducted in the comfort of the home or office. Proper face mask design allows for the transmission of air contaminants to be kept to a minimum, especially in settings where social distancing may have been an issue in the past.

Another application of face mask technology comes in the form of nose and ear loops. Nose and ear loops serve to aid with the transmission of air from the nose to the mouth, as well as to filter out dust particles from the face and ears. Proper installation and use of the mask can minimize the discomfort associated with the use of these devices, making them an important medical device in today's society. Some medical professionals also recommend the use of nose and ear loops for patients with facial injuries or disfigurements caused by burns, accidents, or birth defects, as well as patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Medical professionals agree that face masks and respirators are important tools in saving the lives and health of the general public. In fact, despite their growing use, some are still considered controversial due to their limited applications to the general public. For example, due to the porous construction of many disposable "general public" face masks, they present a possible risk of transmitting bacteria from the hands of the wearer to the skin. This has led some jurisdictions to ban the use of respironaptics in these public environments.