A new study has revealed that a simple measure like face protection can help control the spread of influenza.
Lawrence M. Wein, Ph.D., and Michael P. Atkinson of Stanford University assessed various ways in which aerosol transmission of the flu, a central mode of diffusion that involves breathing droplets in the air, can be reduced.
They constructed a mathematical model of aerosol transmission, which predicted that the use of face protection including N95 respirators and surgical masks are effective in preventing the flu.
The filters in surgical masks keep out 98 percent of the virus. Also, only 30 percent of the benefits of the respirators and masks are achieved if they are used only after an infected person develops symptoms.
"Our research aids in the understanding of the efficacy of infection control measures for influenza, and provides a framework about the routes of transmission," the authors said.
According to researchers, the new study has the potential to impact current efforts and recommendations to control the so-called swine flu.
The study is published in the journal Risk Analysis.