10 Common Health Myths Deconstructed

1. Surgical masks protect from flu


People wearing surgical masks in public are not an uncommon sight this winter. This postapocalyptic fashion trend started the last time the dreaded swine flu struck, and somehow held on – despite the fact that it does a big fat load of nothing to protect you from the H1N1 virus (from other viruses as well, for that matter.)

Here is why surgical masks are useless for this purpose: they are not airtight. They do not offer any protection against the microscopic particles that transmit flu. A mask is far more useful if you are already sick – it does a better job of keeping viruses in than keeping them out. Although if you suspect you might have the flu, it’s really better not to go out in public, mask or no mask. Health complications can be severe, and much worse if you try to brush it off!

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