Surgical mask

Surgical mask
Surgical face mask.jpg
A surgical mask
Other namesProcedure mask, medical mask, isolation mask, laser mask, fluid-resistant masks, face mask
As seen here, a correct use of a surgical mask, a cord is visible behind the ears, and the other under the chin

A surgical mask, also known as a medical face mask, is a personal protective equipment worn by health professionals during medical procedures.[1][2] It prevents airborne transmission of infections between patients and/or treating personnel by blocking the transmission of pathogens (primarily bacteria and viruses) shed in respiratory droplets and aerosols into and from the wearer's mouth and nose.[3][4][5]

Typically quite impermeable to moisture, the mask act as an additional barrier for the airway and are not usually designed (unless N95-rated) to completely prevent the wearer from inhaling smaller airborne pathogens, but could be still protective by filtering out and trapping most of the droplets that carry them.[6] There is a predominance of evidence that surgical masks protect both the wearer (by filtering the inhaled air) and bystanders (by blocking down forceful exhalations from the wearer that can spread pathogens afar).[7]

Surgical masks were originally designed to protect medical personnel from accidentally breathing or swallowing in splashes or sprays of bodily fluids, but the effectiveness of surgical masks against influenza-like infections has not been confirmed by high-quality randomized controlled trials.[8] Commonly seen surgical masks vary greatly by quality and levels of protection. Despite their name, not all surgical masks are appropriate to be used during surgery. Surgical masks may be labeled as surgical, isolation, dental or medical procedure masks.[9] Chinese health officials distinguish between medical (non-surgical) and surgical masks.[10]

Surgical masks are made of a nonwoven fabric created using a melt blowing process. They came into use in the 1960s and largely replaced cloth facemasks in developed countries.[11] The dark blue (or green) side of the mask (the fluid-repellant layer) is to be worn outward, with the white (absorbent) layer on the inside.[12][13][14] With respect to some infections like influenza surgical masks could be as effective (or ineffective) as respirators, such as N95 or FFP masks;[15][16][17] though the latter provide better protection in laboratory experiments due to their material, shape and tight seal.[18][19]

The use of surgical masks during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a subject of debate,[20] as mask shortage is a central issue.[21][22] Surgical masks are popularly worn by the general public all year round in East Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea, especially during allergy and flu seasons, to reduce the chance of spreading airborne diseases to others, and to prevent the breathing in of airborne irritants such as pollens or dust particles created by air pollution (though dust masks are more effective against pollution.)[23] Additionally, surgical masks have become a fashion statement, particularly in contemporary East Asian culture bolstered by its popularity in Japanese and Korean pop culture which have a big impact on East Asian youth culture.[24][25]

  1. ^ Smith, Jeffrey D.; MacDougall, Colin C.; Johnstone, Jennie; Copes, Ray A.; Schwartz, Brian; Garber, Gary E. (17 May 2016). "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 188 (8): 567–574. doi:10.1503/cmaj.150835. ISSN 0820-3946. PMC 4868605. PMID 26952529.
  2. ^ "Advice on the use of masks the community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak" (PDF). Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Transmission-Based Precautions". U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Prevention of hospital-acquired infections" (PDF). World Health Organization (WHO). p. 45. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Clinical Educators Guide: Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare". Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. December 2019. p. 20. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  6. ^ Sommerstein R, Fux CA, Widmer A (6 July 2020). "Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by aerosols, the rational use of masks, and protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19". Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 9 (1): 100. doi:10.1186/s13756-020-00763-0. PMC 7336106. PMID 32631450.
  7. ^ Peeples L (2020). "Face masks: what the data say". Nature. 586 (7828): 186–189. Bibcode:2020Natur.586..186P. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-02801-8. PMID 33024333. S2CID 222183103.
  8. ^ Xiao J, Shiu EY, Cowling BJ (2020). "Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings-Personal Protective and Environmental Measures". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 26 (5): 967–975. doi:10.3201/eid2605.190994. PMC 7181938. PMID 32027586.
  9. ^ "N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks (Face Masks)". FDA. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  10. ^ "For different groups of people: how to choose masks". National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China. 7 February 2020. Archived from the original on 5 April 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  11. ^ Strasser, Bruno J; Schlich, Thomas (2020). "A history of the medical mask and the rise of throwaway culture". Lancet. The Lancet. 396 (10243): 19–20. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31207-1. PMC 7255306. PMID 32450110. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  12. ^ Chua MH, Cheng W, Tan H, Li Z, Tan BH, Loh XJ (2020). "Face Masks in the New COVID-19 Normal: Materials, Testing, and Perspectives". Research. 2020: 7286735. doi:10.34133/2020/7286735. PMC 7429109. PMID 32832908.
  13. ^ Johnmin (1 June 2020). "Which Way Round Should a Surgical Face Mask Go?". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  14. ^ Johnmin (1 June 2020). "Does Wearing Surgical Masks With the Wrong Side Out Affect Their Ability to Capture Viruses?". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  15. ^ Long, Y; Hu, T; Liu, L; Chen, R; Guo, Q; Yang, L; Cheng, Y; Huang, J; Du, L (13 March 2020). "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Journal of Evidence-based Medicine. 13 (2): 93–101. doi:10.1111/jebm.12381. PMC 7228345. PMID 32167245.
  16. ^ Long Y, Hu T, Du L (2020). "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine. 13 (2): 93–101. doi:10.1111/jebm.12381. PMC 7228345. PMID 32167245.
  17. ^ Chu DK, Akl EA, Schünemann HJ (2020). "Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis". The Lancet. 395 (10242): 1973–1987. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31142-9. PMC 7263814. PMID 32497510.
  18. ^ "N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks - Blogs - CDC". CDC Blogs. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  19. ^ Smith, JD; MacDougall, CC; Johnstone, J; Copes, RA; Schwartz, B; Garber, GE (17 May 2016). "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 188 (8): 567–574. doi:10.1503/cmaj.150835. PMC 4868605. PMID 26952529.
  20. ^ Ting V (4 April 2020). "To mask or not to mask: WHO makes U-turn while US, Singapore abandon pandemic advice and tell citizens to start wearing masks". South China Morning Post.
  21. ^ "Not Enough Face Masks Are Made In America To Deal With Coronavirus". 5 March 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Chinese mask makers use loopholes to speed up regulatory approval". Financial Times. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  23. ^ Yang, Jeff. "A quick history of why Asians wear surgical masks in public". Quartz. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  24. ^ Dazed (24 December 2015). "How surgical masks became a fashion statement". Dazed. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  25. ^ "How K-Pop Revived Black Sickness Masks In Japan". Kotaku Australia. February 7, 2019.

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