If you’re healthy, a N95 respirator will prevent you from breathing in particles that contain the virus. And if you’re sick, a face mask will help prevent you from spreading the infection to others. But if you’re not wearing them correctly, that protection is thwarted.
For many years, scientists weren’t sure if wearing a mask was effective at preventing the spread of viruses. However, recent studies suggest that they can help. … They found that family members reduced their risk of getting the flu by 70 percent when they washed their hands often and wore masks.
Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object — such as a telephone or computer keyboard — and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Flu masks may help block airborne germs, and they may also prevent the transmission of germs from your hands to your mouth or nose.
Bottom line, folks with weakened immune systems (due to disease, medications, or transplants), and healthy folks, should have a mask handy in case they find themselves in a confined space with another person who is coughing.