Flu News: Cheap Surgical Masks Don't Work

It’s definitely the start of a new wave of H1N1 flu right now; and in a few weeks we will also start to see the “regular” seasonal flu as well. Many people recommend wearing a mask. A new study (review below) suggests that the cheaper surgical mask is not effective in stopping the flu virus. The only mask that clearly was effective were the N95 masks, which cut down on transmission by 75%. It’s interesting to note that this five-week study took place in Beijing, involving 1,936 health-care workers at 24 hospitals last winter.

These N95 masks are more expensive, but they do work. Theoretically, they block 95% of air particles (thus the “N95” name). And they’re also very commonly available now in pharmacies as well as expat grocery stores, usually near the checkout counter.

Article: U.S. to Review Masks Policy as Study Shows They Don’t Stop Flu – Bloomberg.com.

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