Last updated on 12/15/2020
The same precautions you are taking to protect against the COIVD-19 can also help you avoid catching colds and the flu.
As the health authorities preparing for the flu and cold season that will coincide with COVOID-19, experts are recommending people to continue practicing physical distancing, good hand hygiene, and mask-wearing. Doing these things will not only protect against COIVD-19 but also influenza and cold.
Though there are nuances between them, both cold and flu & COIVD-19 are respiratory viruses, and they both spread in the same way.
Experts divide the transmission of respiratory illnesses into two categories – airborne transmission and droplet transmission.
The virus spread through airborne transmission refers to the suspension of viruses and other infections in the air’s small particles. These lighter and small particles can remain afloat in the atmosphere for longer, and the air currents can carry them to distant places.
The virus spread through larger, heavier droplets is known as droplet transmission. These massive particles don’t travel large distances because they cannot remain suspended in the air for longer. Once gravity takes over, these droplets fall to the ground, which is why the recommendation of social distancing exists.
Experts agree that the common cold and flu and COVID-19 both spread through larger droplets. They believe that taking precautions meant for COVID-19 can help a person avoid contracting the common cold and flu.
The Significance Of Masks
Experts consider the droplet transmission a significant reason to wear masks.
The virus transmission is most efficient in the three to six feet zone or the person’s breathing zone. Because people without visible symptoms can spread the virus as abundantly as those with the symptoms, wearing a mask becomes crucial.
Mask works as a barrier between you and the air exhaled by a person. The fabric of these face-covering makes the transmission of large droplets difficult, minimizing the risk of spread.
The masks protect against both the outgoing and incoming. Meaning, when you wear a maks, it protects you from the virus by minimizing your chances of inhaling the droplets exhaled by others. Simultaneously, it protects others from your exhibitions by trapping the droplets inside the fabric. The masks might be okay at protecting against the incoming droplets, but they are very efficient at protecting against the outgoing droplets.
If everyone started wearing masks, they not only protect themselves but even more so protect people around them. If all the people being wearing masks, the virus transmission would not drop to zero. However, it will drop significantly.
Experts believe that wearing a mask will also bring down the strain on the healthcare system during the flu season because the protection measures against COVID-19 can also help reduce the influenza cases this flu season. Doctors say that social distancing and face covering are the two most essential things to prevent both COVID-19 and influenza.
How To Correctly Wear A Mask?
According to experts, the most effective maks are those with more than one layer. Surgical masks are an excellent example of multi-layered face coverings.
The way a person wears a mask also matters significantly. A correctly worn home-made face cover can more effectively reduce virus transmission than a poorly worn surgical mask.
Experts suggest wearing a mask that thoroughly covers the mouth and nose for the duration a person stays in a public area. The face-covering must also fit comfortably around the cheeks and down the chin for maximum effect.
Many experts want the United States and the western world to embrace the practice of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene to protect against COVID-19 and reduce the spread of other infectious diseases.
What Difference Does Using The Safety Protocols Make?
The observations around the world show the widespread benefits of COVID-19 safety measures, including mask-wearing.
Health authorities experience a 75% decline in influenza in Taiwan following the masking and social distancing guidelines. Not only influenza, but the downward trend also shows up in many other infectious diseases following the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Despite the apparent benefits of wearing a mask, doctors advise people not to become complacent. They suggest getting the flu shot and maintaining prevention measures as the flu and cold season begins.
According to experts, the priorities during this flu season should be social distancing and mask-wearing. The regular washing of hands and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces is also a good habit that can help curtail the rise of influenza cases. Health experts also advise not to attend large indoor or outdoor gatherings until they can find a vaccine against the coronavirus.
The experts believe that public health benefits would be significant if people follow face-covering and social distancing guidelines.
Doctors say that we can substantially diminish many severe diseases if we continue to practice social distancing and face-covering norms. These measures will improve overall public health and significantly reduce the healthcare system’s strain that becomes overrun in the flu season.
The experts explain that every measure taken against COVID-19 has its utility, and they all contribute to curbing the virus spread. While these measures are not perfect, we can simultaneously see their effects amplifying if we simultaneously use several of them. When we combine these COVID-19 safety measures, the barrier that the virus had to cross before spreading gets significantly more robust, as each action compensates for the other’s lackings.