Safeguarding Against the Flu Using Face Masks


One way to lessen your chances of becoming infected with a flu virus is to wear a mask. The effectiveness of the mask varies with several factors including how you wear it, what type you pick out, and using proper disposal techniques.

There are a couple different shapes of masks to consider. The first is a soft, flexible mask that ties around the head. These are generally priced cheaply and come in large quantities. These are often referred to as medical masks. A second and more expensive type of mask is the form-fitting type that is pre cast to fit comfortably around the face for a snug fit. These kinds are made out of thin fibers that work to filter out particulates that enter when breathing.

Surgical masks are intended to protect doctors from mucus and other fluids that are projected into the air by patients. They are capable of filtering 95 percent of most small particles, and are effective against the flu virus. To achieve the best flu virus protection in a consumer level mask, look for one with an N95 rating or higher. The N95 mark is a designation given by the FDA which tells you the level of protection you are getting.

When you have your mask, it is important to put it on properly so it works right. Put the mask over your face and tie it on snugly. You don’t want any holes or gaps anywhere around the edges. Any gaps can provide an easy way for germs to get in, because inhaled air will completely bypass the filter.

Wear the protective Masks when entering any situation with multiple people. Keep the mask on until you have left the area. Removing the mask could allow the virus to land on the inside of the material, causing you to breath it in when re-applying the mask. If you are caring for an ill person (perhaps your child), you can protect yourself by wearing a mask in their presence. Also, consider wearing a mask if you are sick to prevent others from catching the illness.

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