After essentially quarantining a CSULB student who has received a "probable positive test" (um, is it or isn't it?) for piggy flu, health officials on the Long Beach campus handed out surgical face masks to students on campus who have "been paranoid," according to a Press Telegram report.
Only problem with that approach is that those masks are basically useless, at least according to this report by health nut Mark Adams, and another report today by the BBC. Even the CDC doesn't know if they're of any use, stating on its website: "Very little is known about the benefits of wearing facemasks and respirators to help control the spread of pandemic flu." People are better off, the website says, staying home and avoiding big crowds. As of this moment, the CDC is about as useless as those masks.
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Surgical masks used (obviously) during surgery, are intended to keep a surgeon's spit and other liquid particles from dropping into a patient's open wound. They're not intended to protect the surgeon from that patient's -- or anyone's -- cough or sneeze or any other invisible airborne excretion (which can fly in easily through the wide pockets on the sides of the masks). Even the fancier N95 mask, which has higher filtration capabilities for tiny air particles is questionable, at best, as far as prevention goes. The only real protection, according to Adams, are air tight gas masks, which are pricier, and make the piggy flu seem a whole hell of a lot scarier than the cutesy masks.