Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Best Way of Staying Out...

(Source from NST, Malaysia) A letter to the Editor

RECENTLY, I saw photos in newspapers showing people wearing “surgical masks” at shopping malls, schools, mamakstalls and other public areas. I have even noticed people wearing them out in the open with no one around. Because of this, I would like to explain why the mask may do more harm than good. The H1N1 virus is not airborne.

To be considered an airborne virus, the microorganism would have to survive or remainin the air for long periods of time. The H1N1 virus does not stay airborne. I have noticed many people wearing masks incrowded places. However, places like airports, shopping malls and schools arefull of germs and bacteria.

If a small amount of bacteria gets into a hole inthe mask, you will provide a breeding ground for the bacteria, which may leadto an illness or infection. The moisture you produce in your mask is perfect for bacteria and viruses, and may be a recipe for disaster. The way to prevent exposure to H1N1 virusis to avoid physical contact with people who may be sick or infected.

Also avoid commonly touched surfaces like escalator railings, poles and public toilet doorknobs. The H1N1 virus usually spreads when someone touches surfaces with the virus and then touches his own nose, eyes or mouth.

Washing your hands frequently is the best defense against exposure. And yes, the virus may travel from point A to point B in the air. But it will drop, not stay airborne. Wearing a mask is only good at helping you not to spread your illness to others if you are infected.

Source: NST –

(Letter to Editor on August 7, ’09 by Kiang Jau Sang Malacca)

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