Does Wearing A Mask Prevent Flu Transmission? Here's What The Experts Have To Say
Living in cities is basically a germ ridden hell of bacteria that wants to ruin your day. Real talk. For all you germaphobes out there, fact is you are absolutely right. Don't let the nay sayers get you down. Go on with your bad self and all that hand sanitiser. You ARE worth it. Maybe you are flirting with the idea of wearing a surgical mask? I don't know about you but personally when I see someone wearing a mask it kind of sends me into a germ induced paranoia. But does wearing a mask prevent flu transmission?
Public transport is a minefield. I once remember touching a pole on the tube once and my hand actually slid down in because there was a jelly like substance on it. This was almost definitely snot.
Guys the germ struggle is real. Did you read about Maccy D's? So it turns out that a study from the Metro found that 100 percent of McDonalds touch screens tested had poo on them. Poo. What a time to be alive. Further evidence to the fact that people absolutely do not wash their hands enough. So imagine people like this, who don't wash their hands sufficiently enough after the bathroom. You know they are not washing their hands after the cough all their hideous germs all over them.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the masks are basically designed to stop hideous virus droplets. The thing with these masks is that they are worn mainly by medical professionals, as they stop virus infested water droplets from getting into their mouths.
"Virus-laden droplets that are generated when infected persons speak, cough, or sneeze; these droplets can be deposited onto the mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract of susceptible persons who are near the droplet source".
Now, in the interest of public safety and good old science, I contacted the experts over at Public Health England, to see if wearing masks when out and about really will actually prevent flu.
A scientific study they carried out found that:
"The evidence base regarding the effectiveness of face masks by the general public was observed to be particularly limited".
The official line with regards to flu prevention, recommended by Dr Richard Pebody, Head of Flu at Public Health England is:
"As well as getting the flu vaccine, practising good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can help limit its spread — catch it, bin it, kill it."
These three rules have been embraced by the NHS and are essential in order to prevent the spread of the very evil flu virus. Catch it — catch the germs when you cough/sneeze by using a tissue. Bin it — throw it away carefully after you have used it, ensuring it does not contact anyone else. Kill it — wash your hands carefully with antibacterial hand soap to kill the germs that are lingering post sneeze.
Also, a flu vaccine is recommended by the NHS for people "aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease), and children and adults with weakened immune systems."
But is it worth getting these masks for your daily commute? Like as well as copious amounts of snot rags (tissues)? Erm, well, if you are ill? Yes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In order to stop you from spreading the germs. Yes y'all, you could in fact be the problem here.
And what do you do if everything else has failed and despite your best behaviour you actually get ill?
The NHS advises that you rest, keep warm, keep hydrated, and take paracetamol/ibuprofen.
Also, the unofficial line from fake doctor Aoife? Soup and cuddles are also excellent cures.