Saturday, August 22, 2009


RECENTLY, I saw photos in newspapers showing people wearing "surgical masks" at shopping malls, schools, mamak stalls 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 remain in the air for long periods of time. The H1N1 virus does not stay airborne.
I have noticed many people wearing masks in crowded places. However, places like airports, shopping malls and schools are full of germs and bacteria. If a small amount of bacteria gets into a hole in the mask, you will provide a breeding ground for the bacteria, which may lead to 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 virus is 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 bacteria 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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