The recent balloon of the COVID-19 outbreak had people obsessing on surgical masks. Surgical masks are deemed important in combating the human transmission of the virus. Masks serve as a barrier for aerosols, bodily fluids, and large droplets. But what do experts say about the surgical masks and their ability to prevent the spread of the virus?

What is a surgical mask?

A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable mask approved by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA to serve as a basic barrier against aerosols and fluids. 

The average mask you buy from drug stores can filter out viruses, but not all. Experts recommend surgical masks with a fine mesh that can capture viruses and N95 respirators to protect your respiratory system from aerial contamination absolutely.

How can surgical masks prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that the simple method of wearing a fresh surgical mask when we go out and observing some basic preventive measures could reduce the spread of a viral disease. 

“CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning, and other everyday preventive actions.”

For years, the medical work was unable to conclude whether surgical masks could truly prevent the spread of viruses. Recent studies on surgical masks show that surgical masks can somehow reduce the transmission of viruses from one person to another.

In a study done in 2003, the team looked into how surgical masks could reduce the transmission of seasonal flu to a healthy, uncontaminated person. The results show that surgical masks provide a three-fold of viruses spewed in the air. 

A study conducted in Japan with thousands of Japanese schoolchildren showed that “vaccination and wearing a mask reduced the likelihood of developing seasonal influenza.”

Another study also found that the combination of wearing a surgical mask and proper hand hygiene reduces flu rates.


Final thought

Do you need to wear a surgical mask or not?

The best way to go is prevention when it comes to a viral outbreak with no known cure yet like the coronavirus. Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. A surgical mask adds a layer of protection against viral outbreaks. There are known risks of wearing surgical masks like lung failure if you wear them while jogging on long hours, but overall, surgical masks help reduce your chances of getting the virus. While surgical masks are important, you should also consider the other preventive measures, such as making sure your immune system is at its peak.