Using Facemasks Against Swine Flu

Nov 21, 2009
In general, the use of facemasks at home and or at work is not recommended. However, there are certain circumstances, when you can consider using a facemask:
  • When you are involved in any activity, including interviewing, escorting, providing assistance to a person who has flu symptoms.
  • If you are a person, who is at increased risk of developing severe illness from flu, including: children younger than 5 years old, older people aged 65 and over, children and teens younger than 18 years old, pregnant women, residents in nursing homes.
  • If you already have such serious health conditions as asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hepatic, blood, liver and kidney disorders, neurological disorders, chronic lung disease, weakened immune system (people with HIV, cancer) consider using facemasks when necessary. Also take care if you receive long-term aspirin therapy, because you are at risk of developing Reye Syndrome.
  • If you are taking care of the person or come in contact with a person with known or suspected swine flu at home or at work.
  • If you have flu symptoms, wear a facemask when you come in contact with other people.
  • If someone at home has got swine flu, consider wearing a facemask, because you might not be ware of having flu yet.

How to use facemasks against swine flu correctly

  • Wash your hands properly before putting on a facemask.
  • Use the bands or ties to put on or take off the facemask after use. Do not touch the outer and inner sides of the facemask.
  • Do not use a facemask longer than 8 hours and throw the facemask in the trash immediately after use.
  • Change facemasks frequently, because the facemask becomes damp with your breath and does not work properly as a protection tool.
  • Do not reuse the facemask.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after taking off the facemask.
  • Keep in mind that facemask doesn't provide the only protection against swine flu.

In communities where swine flu is widespread, it is important to reduce the risk of infection by following simple steps:
  • Wash your hands frequently with water and soap or use alcohol-based hand rub when hand washing is not possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue immediately.
  • Do not touch your face with your hands.
  • Avoid close contacts with a sick person.
  • If you have flu symptoms such as fever, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, sore throat, diarrhea and others, you should stay at home and avoid close contact with others.