You can reduce spread of Respiratory Infection by wearing a mask. You can reduce the spread of your own infection to other people by up to 60-80%. There are different levels of mask protection too. Minimal protection are surgical type masks. Then there are N95, N99, N100. The number represents the percentage of air being filtered. Eg, N95 Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. The size of these particles filtered are 0.3 microns in size larger. These masks have to fit so there is a tight seal around all the edges. If you blow out quickly through your mouth, the mask should puff up. Meaning no air leaking through the sides. At hospitals, the occupational or employee health department fit the masks for us. I recommend the brand 3M, certified by NIOSH. https://ohsonline.com/articles/2014/05/01/comparison-respiratory.aspx
“I am wearing this mask so I don’t make you sick” is a beautiful sentiment.
Of course good and frequent hand washing by rubbing the soap on your hands long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song is the best. It takes about 20 seconds for the soap to coat the bacteria and viruses, then you rinse it off with clean running water and if you can, turn the faucet off with the paper towel you dried your hands with. Faucets can be a source of germs. Moisturize afterwards to prevent drying of skin. Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash. Use a brand equivalent in quality to Purell and use at least a dime sized amount of the gel. This process is good to kill viruses but not spores. If you can’t wash or sanitize your hands eat your food like a “Banana”. This means use a wrapper to hold your food if you can’t clean your hands. Do not tough your food if your hands are not washed. Do not touch you face or hair unless you have just cleaned your hands. If you have to touch, use the back of your hands or wrist.
Avoid hand shaking. Just bump.
Please cough into your shoulder or elbow. Do not cough into your hands unless you sanitize or wash them immediately afterwards. I see so many people who are not aware of what they are doing. When you cough into your hands, your hands are covered with germs and you contaminate everything you touch and making other people sick.
Wearing a mask is common practice in Asia. Healthful cultural practice we should adopt. “I am wearing this mask so I don’t make you sick” is a beautiful sentiment.
It is the season when many people get sick with respiratory illness. Be a trail blazer. Just do it.
Use of face masks by ill persons: CDC might recommend the use of face masks by ill persons as a source control measure during severe, very severe, or extreme influenza pandemics when crowded community settings cannot be avoided (e.g., when adults and children with influenza symptoms seek medical attention) or when ill persons are in close contact with others (e.g., when symptomatic persons share common spaces with other household members or symptomatic postpartum women care for and nurse their infants). Some evidence indicates that face mask use by ill persons might protect others from infection.
Use of face masks by well persons: CDC does not routinely recommend the use of face masks by well persons in the home or other community settings as a means of avoiding infection during influenza pandemics except under special, high-risk circumstances (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/maskguidance.htm). For example, during a severe pandemic, pregnant women and other persons at high risk for influenza complications might use face masks if unable to avoid crowded settings, especially if no pandemic vaccine is available. In addition, persons caring for ill family members at home (e.g., a parent of a child exhibiting influenza symptoms) might use face masks to avoid infection when in close contact with a patient, just as health care personnel wear masks in health care settings.