Guidance: Know What To Do About Flu

November 2016

General Practitioners

Country of origin: USA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released interim advice to the public about the use of facemasks and respirators in certain public (non-occupational) settings during an influenza pandemic. There is very little research about the value of masks to protect people in public settings. These interim recommendations are based on the best judgment of public health experts who relied in part on information about the protective value of masks in healthcare facilities.

The guidance stresses that during an influenza pandemic a combination of actions will be needed, including hand washing, minimizing the likelihood of exposure by distancing people who are infected or likely to be infected with influenza away from others and treating them with antiviral medications, having people who are caring for ill family members voluntarily stay home, and encouraging people to avoid crowded places and large gatherings. When used in conjunction with such preventive steps, masks and respirators may help prevent some spread of influenza.

This guidance is available online.

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