We were used to seeing face masks in the hospitals for general infection control however things have changed when COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now face masks are daily routines of our lives and we do not ever forget to have backup masks with us whenever we leave our homes. The fact that civilians have been used to facemasks more than ever, we have put together a survey to understand how the participants’ familiarity with masks have changed and whether they plan to keep using them when masks are not recommended for the pandemic anymore.
Main purpose of this survey is to determine the awareness of people of the masks’ effectiveness against other infectious diseases such as flu. We have tried to assess this awareness with Likert scale and with expressions such as the following:
The expression, “Mask usage provides protection against flu” has shown some interesting results:
We can see that out of 151 answers approximately half of the respondents think that masks can actually prevent flu, and they “Strongly agree.” However as the results of various researches show, there is no strong evidence whether masks actually prevent flu transmission or not. It has been reported that during a flu season, which we go through every year, mask usage indeed delays the spread of the flu (1). However this decrease is associated with population-wide mask usage. As an example Chinese public health authorities recommend public-wide mask usage in times of the flu season. And they have seen some success (3). However controlled researches are needed to say something for sure. It is best to listen to public health figures and your doctors to take action and we recommend you not to stress much about the transmission of the flu, hygiene and healthy immune system is all you need.
Even though almost half of the respondents think that mask usage prevents flu, they are not really planning to act accordingly. Let’s check the answers regarding the expression “I will be using masks during the flu season”:
Red portion answered “No”, blue portion answered “Yes” and orange answered “Maybe”
We believe that the differences in thinking and taking an action somehow summarizes humans. Since we are not used to wearing masks during the flu season and the public health figures in Turkey and in the USA, these are where the respondents are from, do not recommend population-wide mask usage during the flu seasons, participants are not really sure whether they should wear masks or not. Also the fact that they are trying to answer correctly, even though they do not really need to but humans seem to do that, the “maybe” answer is the most safe one among them. We strongly believe that pandemic has shifted our normal, and we are more concerned about our health than we were before. This is surely not a bad thing, thinking how in the 2020 flu season the flu rates have dropped due to high hygiene regulations.
To summarize, we could reach some understanding regarding the approach to the masks in relationship with the flu. And we thank you for your participation in our survey. We will be talking about the results when it is related to our upcoming blog posts. In the meantime you could check the flu with FluAI App, available in App Store and Play Store. FluAI App is always here for you and working for you.
PM & CLINICAL TEAM