Is it true that masks help you stay healthy?

How effective are these masks and how do they prevent microbes from attacking when worn?

Written Thursday, by Emanuele Mortarotti

Welcome back to a new article on the Dispotech, your disposable excellence blog.

Have you ever wondered what purpose those masks serve which we often seen worn by people at any age and of any origin (for the most part tourists)? In Italy, you frequently see passersby wearing them, especially in art cities or those with large crowds of tourists. How effective are these masks and how do they prevent microbes from attacking when worn? Let’s find out together, thanks to an article published in a column in the New York Times!

Looking at them, it isn’t hard to understand why: when people are sick, wearing the masks prevents the illness from spreading to those around them. Surely wearing a mask helps prevent others from getting sick but it certainly isn’t infallible.

Also called surgical masks in the medical field, they were introduced in operating rooms towards the end of the 1800s and reached a certain level of popularity when people wanted to protect themselves from the influenza pandemic of 1918. A century later, the arrival of new molecular technologies confirmed that surgical masks can offer good protection against the flu. In a 2013 study, some researchers counted the number of viral particles in the air around patients affected by the flu and discovered that the masks diminish the exhalation of viral liquid droplets.

As mentioned before, surgical masks are also fundamental for medical personnel: from physicians to nurses and service personnel, everyone should wear them. According to an Australian study, when worn at home, masks can reduce the possibility of getting sick by 60 to 80%.

Many do not wear the masks at home or outside their homes, cancelling all the benefits this device can provide. If you don’t have a mask (or more likely, don’t want to wear one), keeping your distance — at least two metres — from a person affected by the flu can help you stay healthy. The air surrounding people with the flu, even if they aren’t coughing or sneezing, is full of infected particles: the further away you stay, the healthier you’ll be.

Frequent hand washing is also an excellent way of reducing the risk of catching the flu, because touching something infected with your fingers can help transmit infected microbes.


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Emanuele Mortarotti
Author Emanuele Mortarotti


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