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CDC: Face masks not necessary for anyone but healthcare professionals


ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday issued an interim recommendation around face masks and respirators, suggesting that they are not necessary for use for anyone except those healthcare professionals treating a patient who is either known to have or is suspected of having the H1N1 influenza.

Face masks were one of the items that drug stores quickly ran out of in the wake of the first H1N1 flu reports last month.

“Information on the effectiveness of face masks and respirators for decreasing the risk of influenza infection in community settings is extremely limited,” the CDC stated. “Thus, it is difficult to assess their potential effectiveness in decreasing the risk of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus transmission.”

Instead, the CDC recommended people concerned about contacting the H1N1 virus should wash hands frequently, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner; cover mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing; avoid touching eyes, noses and mouths; if sick with the flu, stay home and minimize contact with others for seven days after symptoms begin or after being symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer; and avoid close contact, within 6 ft., with people infected with the H1N1 virus.

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