Do Facemasks Work in Preventing Swine Flu?
Because of the swine flu pandemic, people all over the world have taken the habit of wearing facemasks whenever they are in public. The swine flu virus can be caught airborne, and so people have come to think that wearing facemasks can protect them from being infected by the virus.
However, the truth is that wearing facemasks will not really do much in preventing from the swine flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that disposable facemasks which are worn loosely over the face are not truly designed to keep you from inhaling the virus. There are gaps in the facemask that can still let viruses into your nasal passages.
Wearing Respirators Instead of Facemasks
The CDC report said that your chances of being protected from inhaling the swine flu virus are much higher if you wore a respirator instead of a facemask. Respirators fit more closely over the nose and the mouth. Moreover, they are designed to keep even very small particles from entering your nasal passages and your mouth.
Still, wearing respirators are still not a foolproof way from getting the swine flu virus. There are other ways of getting infected with the virus. Also, wearing a respirator can make it difficult for you to breathe, especially when you already have breathing problems in the first place.
When to Wear Facemasks or Respirators
Despite the fact that wearing facemasks or respirators do not negate your chances of falling ill with swine flu, there are indeed situations when wearing them may be necessary. These situations are:
1. When you have to be in a crowded place for a long period of time
2. When you live with a person who has the flu, not necessarily the swine flu
3. When you are in charge of caring for someone who is sick with the swine flu
4. When you suspect that you are sick but the symptoms are not full-blown yet and you need to be in a crowded place
Otherwise, wearing facemasks or respirators may not be necessary for you to do at all. When you do wear a facemask or a respirator, make sure that you dispose of it as soon as you take it off. Do not reuse your facemask or respirator and just wear a fresh one.
How to Prevent Swine Flu Infection
There is a better way of protecting yourself from being infected by the swine flu virus than wearing facemasks or respirators. That is by washing hands frequently. Soap and warm water are enough to kill viruses that you may have gotten from touching an infected surface, and so you should wash your hands in these more often.
If you do not have access to soap and warm water at the moment, you should always have a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a bottle of isopropyl alcohol at hand. Alcohol is also effective in killing the swine flu virus. Put some the sanitizer or the alcohol on your hands and rub your hands together until the alcohol has dried.