APR 29, 2018 11:44 PM PDT

Do Surgical Masks Really Protect You From The Flu?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Surgical masks may not actually protect you from the flu, but they can stop you from infecting other people if you do actually have the flu. One study published in the American Journal of Infection Control used samples of a harmless virus to test how effective the surgical mask is at protection from airborne pathogens. The study found that 20-85% of the stimulated virus actually penetrated the surgical mask in comparison to only 5% of another type of mask, a respirator. In another study, from the journal of PLOS Pathogens, investigators collected samples of exhaled particles from about 40 flu patients with and without the surgical mask. The results showed that a wearing a surgical mask significantly reduced the amount of aerosolized virus into the air. This proves that the main function of a surgical mask is not to protect the individual wearing it from catching any viruses, but to protect everyone else from inhaling the virus exhaled from the individual wearing the surgical mask.
About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
MAY 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Penguins Have a Rough Time Combating Larger Predators
MAY 10, 2020
Penguins Have a Rough Time Combating Larger Predators
Humboldt penguins are small and easy prey for larger predators, and with that in mind, it may not come as much of a surp ...
JUN 08, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Prevent Ocean Pollution by Switching Laundry Cycles
JUN 08, 2020
Prevent Ocean Pollution by Switching Laundry Cycles
According to new research from Northumbria University, England, nearly 13,000 metric tons of microfibers are released in ...
JUN 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
Desperate Polar Bear Mother Weighs Risks of Attacking Dangerous Walruses
JUN 16, 2020
Desperate Polar Bear Mother Weighs Risks of Attacking Dangerous Walruses
Polar bears are being subjected to severe living conditions as the Arctic’s ice caps continue to melt, and without ...
JUN 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
How do Microplastics Reach the Deep Seafloor?
JUN 16, 2020
How do Microplastics Reach the Deep Seafloor?
Plastics and microplastics are certainly not recent developments in ocean pollution. However, scientists continue to inv ...
JUN 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
JUN 24, 2020
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
In metal works, the term annealing refers to a treatment with heat that increases the elasticity of a metal material. Si ...
JUL 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
JUL 19, 2020
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Kononenko, has successfully carried out an experiment to engineer human cartilage in microgravit ...
Loading Comments...