MSPH LogoThis news seems to deliver informative insights about the transmission of flu. A study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health claims that standard face masks and hand hygiene may efficiently decrease the spread of influenza-like illness during flu season. In an influenza pandemic, vaccination is apparently not primarily obtainable, and antiviral prescribing may be inadequate, which is why scientists want to comprehend as to how effectual other measures are in averting influenza.

The study included around over 1,400 college students living in university residence halls through the 2006-2007 influenza season. The subjects were allocated to one of three sets: those who sported face masks, those who hand masks and applied alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a control group who weren’t given any intervention. Students were supposedly observed for influenza-like symptoms for about six weeks.

Every volunteer was shown a simple hand hygiene instructional video. Participants in the hand hygiene and mask set apparently received an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and printed instructions concerning proper face mask and hand sanitizer use. Those in the mask group were given written commands on face mask use only. The students apparently started utilizing the measures now post laboratory corroboration of influenza on the University of Michigan campus.

The study was headed by Allison E. Aiello, PhD, University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The examiners apparently noted a considerable decrease in the frequency of influenza-like symptoms beginning subsequent to three weeks in the hand sanitizer/mask group and in the mask group as opposed to the control group. In the hand sanitizer/mask team, Dr. Aiello and researchers discovered a drop of influenza-like symptoms varying from around 35 to 51 percent as against the control group. The frequency of symptoms between the hand sanitizer/mask group and the mask-only group did not appear to be statistically dissimilar, thereby proposing that the use of hand sanitizer could not significantly add in diminishing symptoms.

The authors commented, “The findings have implications for guidelines and recommendations for mask use in the community setting.”

Mask application in this study was apparently established to have a shielding outcome even when sported fairly during the day. Moreover, the use of face masks and hand hygiene could decrease respiratory ailments in community settings and diminish the effect of the H1N1 pandemic.

A supplementary editorial had the same opinion as the study authors and proposed that use of a face mask and hand hygiene may be effectual in decreasing spread of influenza and influenza-like illness. The editorial’s lead author, Titus Daniels, MD, MPH, of Vanderbilt University, indicated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appears to presently advise the use of a face mask just for people at augmented danger for influenza or where H1N1 is traveling in the community setting.

The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.