Does Wearing a Mask Protect You from the Flu and Different Viruses?

When the United States skilled an outbreak of the swine flu in 2009, everyone was talking about methods to reduce the spread of the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Supply, vaccine availability was limited that 12 months because the virus wasn’t identified until manufacturers had already began producing the annual vaccine.

So, individuals started doing something most of us hadn’t really seen before to stop transmission: wearing surgical face masks.

But with the current spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, individuals are once more looking to surgical face masks as a way of protecting themselves and others from the virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

But does wearing a face mask really prevent the spread of viruses, such as the flu or SARS-CoV-2?

We’ll take a look at suggestions from specialists, unpack the research on which masks are most effective, and explain easy methods to use masks properly.

Within the case of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the CDCTrusted Supply notes that:

“CDC does not advocate that people who find themselves well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. It is best to only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask must be utilized by individuals who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.”

The CDCTrusted Supply recommends healthcare workers wear face masks when working with patients who have the flu.

The CDC additionally recommendsTrusted Source patients who show signs of respiratory infections be given masks while they’re in healthcare settings till they can be isolated.

In case you’re sick and should be round others, properly wearing a masks can protect those round you from contracting your illness.

Research show masks may assist in some cases

For a few years, scientists weren’t positive whether wearing a masks was effective at preventing the spread of viruses. Nevertheless, latest studies counsel they can help.

One 2013 studyTrusted Source checked out how masks may assist individuals with the seasonal flu limit spreading it after they exhale small droplets containing the virus. Total, researchers found masks led to a more than threefold reduction in how a lot virus people sprayed into the air.

Another researchTrusted Supply, analyzing data from thousands of Japanese schoolchildren, discovered that “vaccination and wearing a masks reduced the chance of creating seasonal influenza.”

Importantly, researchers also discoveredTrusted Source that flu rates have been decrease when masks had been paired with proper hand hygiene.

In other words, regular handwashing remains an essential software in preventing the spread of viruses.

Different types of masks

If you’re considering wearing a mask to protect your self against infections, there are two types it is best to know about.

Surgical face masks

Surgical face masks are fairly loose-fitting, disposable masks approved by the Meals and Drug Administration to be used as medical devices. Doctors, dentists, and nurses usually wear them while treating patients.

These masks prevent giant droplets of bodily fluids that may comprise viruses or other germs from escaping via the nose and mouth. Additionally they protect towards splashes and sprays from different individuals, such as these from sneezes and coughs.

But the average masks you can buy from an area drugstore aren’t enough to filter out viruses.

For that goal, consultants recommend special masks with fine mesh that may seize very small organisms. These additionally must be worn accurately for them to work.

Masks worn over the face are additionally unable to protect you from getting airborne virus particles, from a cough or sneeze, into your eyes.

Buy surgical face masks from Amazon or Walmart.


Respirators, additionally called N95 respirator masks, are designed to protect the wearer from small particles in the air, like viruses. They’re licensed by the CDC and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The name comes from the fact that they’ll filter ninety five %Trusted Supply of airborne particles, in accordance with the CDC. N95 masks are also usually used when painting or dealing with doubtlessly poisonous materials.

Respirators are chosen to fit your face. They need to type a perfect seal so no gaps enable airborne viruses in. Healthcare workers use them to protect against airborne infectious diseases, reminiscent of tuberculosis and anthrax.

In contrast to regular face masks, respirators protect in opposition to each massive and small particles.

General, respirators are considered much more effective at stopping the flu virus than regular face masks.

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