Will Face Masks Help Prevent the Flu, Too?

Will Face Masks Help Prevent the Flu Too?

(AscendHealthy.com) – Regardless of how anyone feels about the widespread use of face masks, covering up has become a common part of life in many countries. The Southern Hemisphere has survived its 2020 winter, and now the flu is on its way back up north — but this year, we might actually be ready for it. Let’s take a look at what impact face masks may have on flu prevention.

Studies on Influenza

The flu is caused by a virus that enters the body via inhaled droplets or contaminated hands touching the eyes, nose or mouth. The CDC explains that, because influenza transmission occurs as the result of infected people breathing, coughing or sneezing more copies of the virus into the air, masks are likely to protect people against the flu transmission.

People who do catch the seasonal virus can become contagious about one day before symptoms appear, so they can do a lot of viral shedding before there’s any indication they need to isolate. In addition, children and people with compromised immune systems can continue shedding the virus long after they recover. All of these people might look and feel flu-free, but they’re infecting people everywhere they go if they aren’t wearing masks.

Reports From Australia

Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means it experiences fall and winter when the United States is enjoying spring and summer. Seasonal viruses like influenza tend to move with the colder weather, which means Australia’s flu season occurs while we’re all off soaking in the summer fun here. So, while we’re gearing up for the arrival of seasonal viruses, Australia just finished saying its farewells for the year.

Researchers have looked at Australia to predict what the 2020 flu season will look like in the United States and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Turns out the Land Down Under had record-low influenza rates this year. New Scientist reports that other factors, like social distancing and closed schools, also probably contributed to the lower numbers, but experts are pointing at mask use as another biggie.

Many of us have been dreading the possibility of being slammed by the cold and flu season, but this year might not be as bad as we’ve feared. If we follow Australia’s trends, we could be in for a surprisingly mild year. That is, if we all continue to wear our masks!

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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