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Gauze face mask, England, 1901-1940

Worn over the nose and mouth by surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses during operations, this gauze face mask protects patients from infection from airborne bacteria from the mouth and nose. This example is made from gauze, a fine mesh material, and was probably disposed of after use. Gauze face masks were first introduced in the early 1900s. Today, no-one is allowed to enter an operating theatre without wearing a face mask.

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Glossary: face mask

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