Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thousands of worried people are rushing out to buy facemasks to protect themselves from swine flu as fears of a pandemic swept across the UK today.
But experts have warned that face masks could prove useless in combating the killer swine flu virus.
Scientists have warned that masks would need to be changed at least twice a day to make them in any way effective – meaning millions would be needed.
And they could cause a public health hazard in themselves if they are not disposed of properly, by actually helping the flu spread.
British passengers have been arriving back from Mexico wearing masks they were given while in the country, and thousands more are due to arrive in the coming days.
And France has ordered stockpiles of the mask for the whole population.
But Dr Rosemary Leonard, a GP who sits on the board of the Health Protection Agency, said there were no plans here to hand out flu masks in the end of a pandemic.
She said it would provide false reassurance and could even be dangerous.
‘Once they are wet, they don’t work and because of respiration they become damp fairly quickly,’ she said.
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 8:48 am