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Cold and flu season can be a stressful time for the whole family. Whether it's kiddos heading to school or you heading into the office, it can feel tough to control the spread of germs during these illness-prone seasons. Below we discuss whether there are benefits to wearing a face mask for flu protection.
How Does the Flu Virus Spread?
According to the CDC, seasonal influenza viruses are easily transmitted from person to person through contact through coughing, speech, sneezing, and other mucous droplets from the infected person.1 This means you don’t always need to necessarily be in direct contact with an infected person to be at risk of contracting the flu virus. Since these droplets can easily appear on common surfaces, it’s important to always be mindful of ways you can transmit the virus. Simply touching an infected surface and then touching your face, eyes, or mouth puts you at risk of becoming sick. With these risk factors in mind, the CDC has a combination of infection prevention and control strategies that—when done correctly—should help minimize the transmission of flu viruses in various settings.
Should I Wear a Face Mask for Flu?
If you are healthcare personnel that will be in direct contact with a confirmed flu patient, wearing a surgical mask or fit-tested respirator is recommended.1
For people who have been diagnosed with the flu, wearing a face mask is essential at all times until you are isolated in a room.1 An infected individual should stay home until their fever has resolved for over 24 hours without any medication and their cough has resolved. If staying at home is not possible, infected individuals should wear a mask in public and practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs.1
We hope this information can help you decide the right course of action when it comes to wearing a face mask for flu protection. For more information on additional topics, such as why you might be more susceptible to illness in the winter, visit the Theraflu site.
1. Interim Guidance for the Use of Masks to Control Seasonal Influenza Virus Transmission. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/maskguidance.htm. Accessed 3/15/2021.