RECENTLY, I saw photos in newspapers showing people wearing "surgicalmasks" at shopping malls, schools, mamak stalls and other public areas. Ihave 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 harmthan good.
The H1N1 virus is not airborne. To be considered an airborne virus, themicroorganism would have to survive or remain in the air for long periodsof 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 andbacteria. If a small amount of bacteria gets into a hole in the mask, youwill provide a breeding ground for the bacteria, which may lead to anillness or infection.
The moisture you produce in your mask is perfect forbacteria and viruses, and may be a recipe for disaster.The way to prevent exposure to H1N1 virus is to avoid physical contactwith people who may be sick or infected. Also avoid commonly touchedsurfaces like escalator railings, poles and public toilet doorknobs.
The H1N1 virus usually spreads when someone touches surfaces with thebacteria 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 itwill drop, not stay airborne.Wearing a mask is only good at helping you not to spread your illness toothers if you are infected.
Source: NST - Letter to Editor on August 7, '09 by Kiang Jau Sang Malacca