Surgical Mask

A surgical mask also known as a procedure mask is intended to be worn by health professionals during surgery and at other times to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer's mouth and nose. Its first recorded use was by the French surgeon Paul Berger during an 1897 operation in Paris.

Outside health care facilities, simple, inexpensive masks of similar appearance are commonly worn in heavily populated centres in East Asia to help prevent spreading the common cold. In Japan, it is common to wear a face mask whilst ill to avoid infecting others in public settings. Surgical masks were widely used in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Toronto, Canada during outbreaks of the SARS virus, during the 2007 avian bird flu pandemic in Japan, and more recently in the United States and Mexico City during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, also known as the swine flu. It is also worn by people in dusty environments such as sanitation workers.

Many western countries wear face masks during flu pandemics such as the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic in 2009/10, in places such as America and England people wear N95 or NIOSH masks these are different to the surgical mask as they provide better protection due to their shape and securing straps.

Modern surgical masks are made from paper or other non-woven material, and should be discarded after each use.

Read more about Surgical MaskEffectiveness, Non Health-related Uses

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