What were surgical masks used for prior to the pandemic?

Surgical Masks used to be a simple item that you only see some medical experts wear. There has been a time or there are some times in history where we see surgical masks be used like we do use them today but they were not as important as they are now.

In this article let us discuss the history of surgical masks and how these medical masks were used prior to the pandemic. Let us look at the brief history and sure selves the importance of the mass from the very beginning. This article will also look at the present state and the present needs of individuals for the use of surgical masks.

History of Medical Masks

The use of surgical masks became a way for individuals to prevent getting the most contagious diseases in early modern Europe. Covering the mouth and the nose is a traditional sanitary practice especially during the 18th century. During the time play doctors would wear bird-like mast in order to protect themselves from potential infection of the virus while at the same time still giving themselves a better time to breathe. 

The surgical mask that we know and love today began in 1867. It was during this year that British surgeon Joseph Lister believed that a wound disease is caused by a small microscopic element. There is a need there for to stop germs from entering ones that could cause a further infection. It was around this time that surgery became the focus of the medical field. But it was only in 1897 that the medical field started wearing surgical masks or at least the beginning of it.

Johann Mikulicz, head of the surgery department of the University of Breslau, which is now Wroclaw, Poland, started the use of the surgical mask in 1897 by wearing “a piece of gauze tied by two strings to the cap, and sweeping across the face so as to cover the nose and mouth and beard”.

It was also during this time that some Paris surgeons also started wearing surgical masks. By the year 1900s surgical masks became widespread and the use was no longer about if but when. By 1910 to 1911 the Manchurian plague started and even individuals who are not in the medical field began using surgical masks in order to protect themselves. By the time of the influenza pandemic in 1918 to 1920 wearing a mask became mandatory for residence in some states in the United States, medical workers who face the virus day in and day out as well as police forces.

The rest as they say is history. There are a lot of other things that people should know about wearing surgical masks but what is important other than the history of it is the fact that we should all learn from the past and make sure that we wear the right materials that would help us to protect ourselves against a virus that we know nothing about just like the coronavirus that we are fighting now.

The Use We Have For Surgical Masks Now

In a pandemic ridden world, there are many uses for the surgical mask that may have been forgotten by individuals or that individuals need to know more about. The following are the uses of the surgical masks nowadays:

  • Sanitary Surgery. One of the most obvious uses of surgical masks before is during surgery and it is still one of the uses that we see now. The best thing about it is the fact that they can be used by individuals who have surgery while also used by individuals who need some sort of respiratory protection.
  • Daily Wear For Respiratory Protection. Speaking of respiratory protection it is all views that surgical masks are being used for that purpose. As we have seen there is a steady increase in the need for individuals to have individual protection against the virus. Countries like Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and other Asian countries are still imposing a requirement of wearing a medical mask when going outside. This is primarily because the best way to protect yourself from the virus is by preventing it from getting inside your mouth, your eyes, and your nose.
  • Props For Sets Of Medical Drama. Another commonly used item for medical drama is a surgical mask. You have probably seen how medical dramas try to recreate the unlock of the hospitals and they also try to break down the experience that individuals would have with it.
  • Daily Personal Protective Equipment For Hazardous Work. If you work in the hazardous environment where you may be exposed from the elements, you will probably use a surgical mask, even prior to the pandemic and especially now during this time. The surgical mask is definitely that kind of personal protective equipment that any person who works in a hazardous environment can use for his or her own protection.

Use Surgical Masks Everyday

Whatever the history may be of surgical masks and whatever it will serve in the future, what matters is that in this present time, you should be able to wear a surgical mask and make sure that the world knows why you are wearing a surgical mask. Since not every single person can help find a cure for the virus or a vaccine that would help us with the immunity that we have, it is important that we still know what we need to do and that we still know the importance of protecting ourselves.

As the history of masks, would show us there will always be that need for protection and sanitary practices not just in the field of surgery or in the medical field but especially now in this year that we are facing. Make sure that you have surgical masks ready and make sure that you do your part as a citizen of the world. We are all counting on each other.

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