Why and How are Face Masks Used?

by Caitlin

A face mask or a surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable cloth mostly used by medical service providers like doctors and nurses. The role of a surgical mask is to create a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants present in the environment. It works to the benefit of the wearer and those who are around him or her.

For instance, it protects the wearer from germs that are in the environment and protects the people around him or her from contracting germs from saliva from the wearer’s nose and mouth. Surgical mask manufacturers make use of face mask machine types that have been certified and designed in a specific way. In this write-up, we discuss the usage of face masks.

Two main groups that use face or surgical masks are:

  • Health care professionals

The introduction of face masks was primarily intended for use by health care professionals. Traditionally, the masks were used during specific health care procedures, the likes of surgical operations. In this case, the masks were used to catch organisms that may shed in bodily liquids from the nose and mouth. The fear was that such droplets would result in contamination of the patients on which the procedures were performed.

Thus, health care workers also wore the masks to keep elements like blood and aerosols in the surgical room from entering their mouth and nose. Regardless of the intention behind using these masks, the fact remains that they help significantly in the reduction of infections. There is a lot of evidence to prove this fact. When used in the medical setting, the masked are disposed of after each use. Failure to dispose of would go against the purpose of the surgical masks. 

  • Public

In public settings, facemasks are also applicable. The role of face masks in this setting is to prevent contact of harmful contaminants with the mouth and nose. However, the use of face masks is not quite recommended in the home setting. In highly populated countries, the likes of China and Taiwan, the general public is advised to wear face masks because it helps prevent the spread of airborne diseases from one person to the other. Public use of face masks is also aimed at the prevention of breathing in airborne dust particles that are created by air pollution. During the flu season in countries like Japan, face masks are also highly utilized.

Currently, WHO advises the general use of face masks in all public places as a measure of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The mask is mostly beneficial to those who are already positive about the virus as it keeps them from infecting other people. However, it also helps to keep those who are not infected from contracting the illness from touching their faces with probably infected hands.


For a surgical facial mask to fulfill its role, you have to use it properly. You also have to make sure to get the best kind of mask. Quality is an important factor to consider when purchasing facial masks. The quality of the mask is greatly influenced by the machine and procedure with which it is manufactured.


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