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Public Health:
H1N1 (Swine) Flu Information

Masks

Should I wear a mask?

  • Wearing a mask does not guarantee that you will be protected from the H1N1 virus. The Centers for Disease Control says you will be much better protected if you wash your hands frequently and avoid sick people. In areas with confirmed cases of H1N1, if you are at risk for severe flu, avoid crowds and stay at least six feet from those who are coughing and sneezing.
  • Wearing a mask when you are ill and coughing can reduce your ability to give the infection to someone else.

What kind of mask works best?

  • Masks are usually disposable, certified by the FDA and labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation or laser masks.
  • In some settings, nurses, doctors and other health-care providers wear a respirator when there is a risk that virus is present in the air (aerosol). Respirators are not necessary for the general public unless individuals are suctioning or giving nebulizer treatments to someone with flu.
  • A respirator should be labeled N95 or higher by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Make sure that your face mask or respirator fits snugly. Be sure to dispose of used masks or respirators and wash your hands after touching or taking off your mask.

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