Will Wearing A Mask Keep You Safe From The Flu?

Wearing a mask has become part of the routine of leaving the house. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Mask? Check. 

Wearing a cloth mask has been proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is recommended by the CDC. The masks help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading the virus, which is why it's recommended that everyone wears one, especially when COVID-19 is often asymptomatic (via WHO). 

COVID-19 and the flu (influenza) are both respiratory illnesses, and they are both contagious. However, they are not caused by the same virus. Testing is necessary because the flu and COVID-19 share some symptoms. COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu and can take longer for people to show symptoms, and it's important to get your flu vaccine because both the flu and COVID-19 will be going around at the same time (via the CDC).

But will wearing a face mask keep you safe from the flu? 

Will wearing a mask protect you from the flu virus?

The flu spreads in a similar manner as COVID-19 — both are mainly spread by droplets through talking, coughing, or sneezing. The droplets can land in someone's mouth, nose, or eyes. It can also be spread, although less likely, when you touch a surface or something that has the virus on it, and then by touching your nose, mouth, or even eyes (via the CDC).

Since the flu spreads just like COVID-19 does, a mask can help reduce the likelihood that an infected person will get another person sick if the infected person is wearing a mask. Researchers in a 2013 study found that wearing masks was the best way to reduce how much flu virus was spread once it leaves an infected person's mouth or nose. According to the CDC, everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine, and wearing a mask can also help keep illness rates down.

A mask, essentially, will help prevent germs from getting others sick from a respiratory virus. You could have COVID-19 and be asymptomatic, so it's important to wear a mask.