Face oxygen masks are devices that have been designed for transferring breathing oxygen to the lungs from a storage tank. A face mask covers the face in its entirety, but there are other masks that are designed to cover only the nose or the mouth. The type of device that is used may depend on the situation, what is available, as well as the needs of the wearer.
For instance, the types of mask a patient requires at a hospital or in an emergency situation, verses the device that is needed by an aviator are entirely different. That being said, typically, the material that is utilized for the construction of this instrument is rubber, silicone or plastic.
In terms of aviation, face oxygen masks are used by pilots and crews when they are required to fly at high altitudes. They are needed in order for aviators to remain alert and to continue to function normally. A pilot and crew who do not have proper oxygen assistance at altitudes higher than 15,000 feet can suffer many different hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, earache, mental and muscle fatigue, visual impairment, vertigo, etc.
There are three different face oxygen masks for pilots and their crews: continuous flow masks, pressure demand masks and diluter demand masks. The type that is needed typically depends on how high an individual flies.