The history and value of face masks

Eur J Med Res. 2020 Jun 23;25(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s40001-020-00423-4.


In the human population, social contacts are a key for transmission of bacteria and viruses. The use of face masks seems to be critical to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for the period, in which therapeutic interventions are lacking. In this review, we describe the history of masks from the middle age to modern times.

Keywords: Bacterial transmission; Behavior; History of medicine; Pandemic crisis; Surgical mask; Viral transmission; Wound infection.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control / instrumentation
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • History of Medicine*
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Masks / history*
  • Masks / standards
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / history
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / standards