Face protection effective in preventing the spread of influenza: study

May 20, 2009

A new article in the journal Risk Analysis assessed various ways in which aerosol transmission of the flu, a central mode of diffusion which involves breathing droplets in the air, can be reduced. Results show that face protection is a key infection control measure for influenza and can thus affect how people should try to protect themselves from the swine flu.

Lawrence M. Wein, Ph.D., and Michael P. Atkinson of Stanford University constructed a mathematical model of transmission of the flu to explore infection control measures in the home.

Their model predicted that the use of face protection including N95 respirators (these fit tight around the face and are often worn by construction workers) and surgical masks (these fit looser around the face and are often worn by dental hygienists) are effective in preventing the flu. The filters in surgical masks keep out 98 percent of the virus. Also, only 30 percent of the benefits of the respirators and masks are achieved if they are used only after an infected person develops symptoms.

"Our research aids in the understanding of the efficacy of measures for , and provides a framework about the routes of transmission," the authors conclude.

This timely article has the potential to impact current efforts and recommendations to control the so-called swine by international, national and local governments in perspective.

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects (Update)

Related Stories

Masks not top flu fighter

Apr 28, 2006

As the discussion over a bird flu pandemic increases, U.S. health experts say surgical masks and similar devices will be of little help.

Next flu pandemic: What to do until the vaccine arrives?

Nov 10, 2006

Experts believe the world is overdue for influenza pandemic. However, unless effective action against pandemic flu is taken now, we are in "dire straits," according to a paper published in the November 10 issue of Science. The ar ...

Questions and answers on swine flu

Apr 29, 2009

As the number of swine flu cases grows, so do the questions about how the virus is transmitted and what people can do to prevent it. Here are answers from interviews with doctors and from public-health Web sites.

Students too cool for surgical masks?

Mar 11, 2007

A project at the University of Michigan has students wearing surgical masks to monitor possible flu outbreaks, but some students have been slacking off.

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

23 hours ago

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.