Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: Lewis Thomson on 11/01/2018 10:54:37

Title: Should we wear surgical masks when we're ill?
Post by: Lewis Thomson on 11/01/2018 10:54:37
Rahul asks:

I'm a big fan of the show (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts) and was hoping you guys would be able to clarify this for me, as the information seems to be unclear. I would like to know if surgical masks are actually effective at preventing the spread of the disease and if this practice should be adopted in western society the way it has in places such as Japan.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Should we wear surgical masks when we're ill?
Post by: chiralSPO on 11/01/2018 16:42:50
At the health center I go to when ill (or for well visits) they have surgical mask dispensers near the entrance, and ask anyone with flu-like symptoms to put one on.

I don't know if they help (especially if not worn properly), but I would guess that they do. Presumably they are used as surgical masks because they are able to protect surgical patients from the surgeons' exhaled pathogens, and I don't see why that wouldn't also help for others. Also, the mask would serve as an extra reminder to the wearer to be careful about contamination (as well as warning others of the potential vector!)