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Would You Wear a Surgical Mask For Cold Prevention?

I am not going to lie to you, the bird flu freaks me out a bit. Well, a lot actually. A new study from the UK on surgical masks allayed my fears a bit. The study found that that surgical masks do provide protection from severe respiratory illnesses, from the flu to SARS, but also from the common cold. Parents involved in the study who wore surgical masks with a sick child at home were "four times more likely to be protected against respiratory viruses."

This may affect public health policy in the face of some future respiratory illness pandemic. However, just as you need to use your home fitness equipment to actually get fit, you have to wear the mask to boost your protection from these kinds of viruses. Similar and older studies have found that few participants wore their preventive surgical masks regularly, and low compliance rates mean considerably less prevention.

Obviously George Clooney believes in wearing a surgical mask out in public (he must have gotten comfortable with them on the set of ER), but I am curious about you . . .


Join The Conversation
almostloli almostloli 8 years
oh wackdoodle such an interesting fact regarding period you posted there thank you for sharing it. ah anyway, about mask there's no way i'm gonna wear mask
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm required to wear a mask when I do flu tests at work, especially if the patient has been out of the country. It's only a preventative measure and I only have to do it because the tests could very truly have flu virus in them. And the flu is WAY WORSE than any common cold, so I don't complain about it.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Actually regarding periods - It is UNUSUAL (unnatrual) for women to now be menstruating more than four times a year. Scientists had been studying women's menstrual cycle through the eras and before the modern era (BC if you like) and women use to only menstruate four maybe five times a year. There were fewer "women's cancers" those times. The thought is that due to readily available food sources and the change in the social standing of women in agricultural societies women starting menstruating more often and also developing more ovarian, uterine and breast cancers as a possible consequence. Then around the industrial age women started menstruate more because food was more readily available and their function became to have more offspring to support the family. More menstrual cycles is not thought to be beneficial to women nor is it a natural evolutionary development in women. In what we refer to as the Third World countries like the Saharan countries women especially women who are still in "hunter gatherer cultures" do not menstruate as frequently as women in "advanced" societies. Those women who do not menstruate as frequently have a significant lower number of cases of reproductive or breast cancer. Their hormone levels stay even through out the year whereas in our "advanced" culture women here have higher hormone levels that fluctuate wildly. So women actually suppressing their periods down to 4 a year is turning out to be a healthier situation for our reproductive organ and overall health. It regulates our hormone levels allowing the reproductive organs to rest rather than burn brightly for 20 or so years then flame out. Those women also go through a much milder menopause, and they go through it much later in life - meaning they can still easily bear healthy children into their 50s and even 60s (is they survive famine or other diseases). Weird huh? The info on the unnatural increase in menstrual cycles and the "civilized industrial era" is readily available in both Gynecological Journals and other medical and scientific research journals. Even my Gyno is a huge proponent of reducing the number of menstrual cycles her patients go through a year. She is the person who pointed me to the literature and research done on the subject.
ONLY if there was a flu outbreak or SARS or something like that. Otherwise, get the cold, take some medicine and get over it.
cotton118 cotton118 8 years
i agree with girly girl. in asia people wear masks if they themselves are sick no big deal
emalove emalove 8 years
No...I'm not that paranoid.
ivygreene ivygreene 8 years
I've only worn a mask when my doctors have urged me to do so. For most people I don't think they're necessary, and that we are a little to germ obsessed. But a few times my doctors have told me to wear them because my immune system was compromised. It's so embarrassing, people always look at me like I've had SARS or something !
Allytta Allytta 8 years
getting flu or cold is the most natural thing... it's like those women who want their period to occure once a year. i used to get colds like 8 times a year... now i take vitamins (multi+minerals/calcium+d/1000mg C) and it seems to work.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I only will wear a surgrical mask when I am around my sister. Her chemo has so destroyed her immune system that she isn't even able to produce enough red blood cell for oxygen. So everyone who goes in her house wears the mask and takes off their shoes and immediately washes and scrubs their hands. When she goes out she wears a special mask given to her by her fellow nurses- one that the CDC uses to filter out pathogens. So imagine bald black woman with heavy duty CDC mask , slowly going through the supermarket with an aide pointing out the things she needs. It's like the movie "Safe".
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Only if there was a very serious and good reason to. Or if I was going to visit someone in the hospital and it was required. People are supposed to get germs. It helps build immunities and antibodies. Good hygiene and handwashing is the best practice.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
Agree with CreateMagic and Keaton. Too many people nowadays are germ phobes. I have heard that if you keep your home to clean you can become sick because of. My dad would always bring up the polio outbreak as an sample for this. People were to clean and the streets started being paved. The dirt from the street made people immuned...
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
CreateMagic CreateMagic 8 years
Keaton, I couldn't agree with you more. By avoiding every single germ we possibly can, as we seem to try to in this culture, we never build up an immunity to what is around us. I'm a teacher, and the first few years are hell for getting sick...but after that, you end up with an "immune system of steel." Most teachers I know almost never get sick, even if every child in their classroom is. Which seems to strengthen my theory! That said, if there was a deadly epidemic of some sort, I would wear a mask. But otherwise, no.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
nope, I'm way too vain
Lukin Lukin 8 years
I would only consider if it was an immediate, serious, inevitable threat to me and the city I lived in. But I'm pretty satisfied with the results of frequent hand-washing and good hygiene.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I just don't think I could do it. I'd feel like a lunatic, ala Michael Jackson.
girlygirl10 girlygirl10 8 years
I like how they wear masks in Japan in they themselves are sick, to help the rest of the population stay healthy.
Keaton7655 Keaton7655 8 years
I'm a strong believer that it's our ever growing fear of germs and getting sick that is making us sicker (along with all the crap in our foods and products we use.) I understand if there is a terrible virus and it is recommended to wear a mask or gloves or both, then I would, but wearing one to not get a cold? I don't think so. Just my thought.
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