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Can a face mask protect you from the flu?

In Japan, face masks are considered etiquette and, as a result, we frequently see Japanese travellers covering up wherever they go. But do face masks keep the wearer healthier?

The experts say that wearing a face mask is unlikely to stop you getting sick, but if you are sick, it will lessen the likelihood of you spreading the virus or illness.

Professor Stephen Turner, head of Monash University's microbiology department, told The Age: “Many of the surgical masks that people use are not designed properly to filter out very small particles so if the flu virus is floating around, it could potentially get through it.”

But if a person with the flu was sneezing in a public place, a surgical mask could limit the spread of the virus.

America researchers counted the number of virus particles in the air around patients with the flu and found that surgical masks decreased the exhalation of large viral droplets significantly, but were less effective against fine viral droplets that remained suspended in the air longer.

So what does work given the flu is particularly virulent this year?

Head virologist at Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Associate Professor Aeron Hurt, says: “Trials with things like vitamin C, elderberries, garlic or mother's chicken soup ... haven't been evaluated to the type of level we would expect of medicine ,so it's very hard to know if they work.

“But there's no doubt being fit and healthy, having good hygiene, washing your hands regularly and having a healthy lifestyle which involves eating well does aid immune response.

“Our best measure for preventing infection is to be vaccinated."

8 comments

only if industrial strength..any others waste of time and be vaccinated!

“Our best measure for preventing infection is to be vaccinated."

Totally agree. Got mine today!

Image result for health department australia get you flu vaccine

i dont like the idea of having something tied around my face,   imagine the mask at the end of the day,     yuck,   i get the flu jab every year,    so far have been ok,    they said this year is a very nasty strain doing the rounds,    have been a few deaths already,       looks like the measles are on the move again,   about 6 cases so far,   

 I do eat healithily MAUREEN,    but nothing like being safe,  not sorry,    i DONT like getting jabbed,   but im willing to get it [jabbed that is]    for the  end result,      

i actually do have some masks here,   not for wearing out,   but i didnt realise how toxic POTTING MIX was,    bought a bag ,  some time ago,     and went to plant some cuttings,   opened the mix up,   and nearly died,   i couldnt get my breath,   my eyes were sore,    hubby went berserk when he got home,   and realised what id done,    so beware of that stuff,  

I have Vit C and I have a lot of Garlic and often even swallow a clove --(natures antibiotic)  I am very into washing my hands -- and everything else --fruit/ Veg before it is cut or peeled always wash grapes in vinegar and then rinse -- and even spray door knobs etc with Euca spray and always have clean hand towels many a day also tea towels are used once or twice then washed.

I have also had the Flu jab.

I have a health problem but I have not had a cold since I can not remember when -- and I don't think I have ever had the Flu

A couple of glasses of MR full bodied red each night and a flu vac and you're fine.

If you want protection  from bugs or toxins entering you system, you need a closed face mask with filter as is worn by spray painters or asbestos workers. As previously stated surgical type face masks are only designed to protect others from what you might exhale.

A surgical mask could limit the spread of influenza. Flu is carried in air droplets, so a mask would help prevent the flu virus from reaching other people. Masks are not foolproof however, so a flu vaccine is the way to go.

8 comments