Font Size Reduce Text Size  Enlarge Text Size     Print Send this page to printer     Download Reader  Download PDF reader

Many people in flu-related movies and photographs are seen wearing surgical masks. Will masks protect me?

Category: Pandemic Influenza Questions


For health care workers exposed to infected patients, N-95 (or higher) respirators are recommended, in conjunction with personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, gowns, and goggles), standard and droplet precautions, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, vaccinations, and early diagnosis and treatment. If supplies of N-95 (or higher) respirators are not available, surgical masks are recommended for patients who are infected to help reduce the potential for spread of virus when these people cough or sneeze.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) will continue to review and update as needed its public health guidance on the use of masks and respirators by the general public and at-risk workers.

Learn More: Masks and Respirators

Related Mask Question

Last Updated: 05/03/2007