Can Wearing a Mask Prevent Flu?

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Image is from Medical Daily

Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to prevent the flu. Most of which are in preparation before an outbreak takes place. What kind of prevention can you do during an outbreak? The most common method used by many is to wear a mask. This is also recommended by doctors not only during an outbreak, but also while in close contact with flu patients.

Why Is It Important to Wear Mask?

Wearing mask is important because the flu virus is transmitted through air. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks.” Because of this, it is highly recommended that you wear a mask. This may not only block the air droplets from getting inhaled but will also help you prevent your hands with germs from touching your mouth.

Guidelines for the Proper Use of Mask

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have released a set of guidelines suggesting that health workers should wear a mask when being in close contact with flu patients. Moreover, health workers should also suggest to patients to wear a mask.

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Face masks are very useful, especially when used properly. This is because the flu virus can still penetrate the mask if it is not worn according to standard guidelines. To learn more, here are several guidelines in wearing a mask properly:

  • You should wear a mask even when you are at least six feet away from a sick person.
  • Position the strings in a way they can firmly place the mask to fit your nose and mouth. Only touch the strings but not the mask itself. If you have to touch the surface of the mask, it should be touched only once.
  • If you have the flu, wear a mask, especially when you get near any person that may get infected.
  • If there is a flu outbreak in your area, wear a mask all the time. Don’t remove it, especially if you are in a crowded place.
  • When you’re done wearing mask, throw it away and wash your hands with soap. You can also apply a hand sanitizer or alcohol. Do not reuse the mask because it is disposable.

Types of Masks

Face Mask

Face masks are the most common mask everybody is using. It is a type of mask that is loosely fitting, and is disposable. This type of mask is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for medical and hospital use.

Doctors and nurses are required to wear face masks when working with patients. It is because it can block large droplets that may penetrate the nose and mouth. In addition, it may also prevent particles from sneezes and coughs. However, face mask cannot block small airborne contaminants.

Respirator

If a face mask cannot contain small airborne contaminants, a respirator does. It is designed to block any small particle carries disease such as flu. It is certified by the National Institute of Occupational Therapy and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to CDC, it can filter 95% of airborne particles. This type of mask is commonly used when painting or working with toxic chemicals.

There is no question that wearing a mask can prevent the flu. All you need to make sure is to use a mask properly. Although there is no guarantee, it can totally prevent the flu virus from entering your body, wearing a mask is more beneficial than not wearing at all.

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