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FROM THE BUBONIC PLAGUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

 A TIMELINE OF THE EVOLUTION OF FACE MASKS

MIDDLE AGES TO RENAISSANCE

Medical professionals from that time wore beak-like masks coupled with black coats and dark hats to treat patients suffering from the bubonic plague. These masks were supposedly filled with herbs such as clove or cinnamon to combat contagion carried by bad air.

19TH CENTURY EUROPE

The introduction of antisepsis by Joseph Lister led to a revolutionary discourse about wound infections and containment. His discovery was significant in the introduction of mouth and nose coverage such as mouth protection, face masks & mouth bandages.


TREATING THE PNEUMONIC PLAGUE

Until 1910, the application of face covers was not common in surgery and hospitals. In the same year, an epidemic of pneumonic plague struck Manchuria. To prevent its spread, Physician Wu Lien-Teh developed masks to be worn by medical personnel and the general public.


THE SPANISH FLU MADE MASKS MANDATORY FOR ALL

Before 1918, the use of face masks was restricted to the confines of the operating room. However, the Spanish flu brought a new era in the history of face masks, when for the first time, doctors, patients and residents in America were asked to wear the mask.


BRITONS ADOPT "SMOG MASKS"

Post World War II London was choking with air pollution. This led Britons to adopt smog masks" to save themselves from the hazardous air.

While smog masks became popular among the public in the 1940s. washable and sterilizable masks gained acceptance in international surgery.

FACE MASKS TODAY

While smog masks reached developing countries like India and China with rising industrialisation and economic activities, the demand for face masks has only been fuelled with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

As the pandemic sweeps the globe, sewing face masks and 3D printing surgical shields have become the 21st-century versions of rolling bandages.

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