Should we continue to use dropped masks?

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this respiratory tract infection They are the great protagonists of Christmas. Transmission of influenza viruses, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has increased significantly, with a concomitant increase in emergency waiting rooms in hospitals and primary care.

While most symptoms don’t require hospitalization, they can be troublesome. And the symptoms can last 7 to 10 days: mucus, congestion, fever… Even stomach bugs like nausea and vomiting have been linked to the latest coronavirus strain: the JN.1 variant.

However, these new variants have not been proven to be more “pathogenic” nor more virulent than viruses such as omicron, but more “contagious”.

For this reason, we have seen an increase in the wearing of masks on public transport or in enclosed spaces such as shopping malls in recent weeks.An almost forgotten habit, for Microbiologist Manuel Linares Rufoin response to “common sense.”

this influenza This virus “disappeared” due to COVID-19 restrictions, but is now back with greater vigor because we are not “immune” yet. In fact, the current rate is 900 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

  • “The first few years were a little atypical with the flu going around, and maybe now that we’re back to full normalcy, the flu is again at levels that are normal for other winters, even though it’s been a month earlier this year.”

The flu is reportedly set to peak “next week” after Three Kings, so the worst is yet to come, as he explains Health Guide’ Member of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN).

Masks: An Eastern custom we should all adopt

With respiratory infections on the rise, health authorities are calling for public attention. With flu, COVID-19 and RSV cases rebounding, the advice is clear.

Hand hygiene and covering nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing.Of course, use Face mask If you have symptoms consistent with these conditions. As Dr. Linares Rufo reminds us, masks “should never disappear.” and another protective measure, such as an antigen test or hydroalcoholic gel.

And, he stressed, there was no need to make masks mandatory again for everyone in health centers or on public transport. “Normally, if a person has the flu, they will have to stay home and socialize as little as possible; if they must go out, wear a mask.”

Masks are “a must-have in our first aid kit and only used when we are sick, in enclosed places or near vulnerable people.”

  • “Many years ago we would laugh when we saw Japanese people wearing masks on the subway, and now we see it makes sense.”

about Which facial mask is better. The specialist, who currently works at the Prince of Asturias University Hospital in Alcalá de Henares, noted that the operation was “sufficient”. Suitable for daily use, but in closed spaces we should choose FFP2 (they protect ourselves and others from two directions).

Is it necessary to get tested for COVID-19 or the flu now?

Sale self diagnostic test The number of Spanish pharmacies that know if we have the flu or COVID-19 has tripled.

These tests are quick, can be done by anyone at home, and are very useful for understanding which respiratory infection our symptoms are responding to, as the flu virus or COVID-19 have very similar symptoms. However, the treatments are quite different.

Therefore, for Dr. Linares Rufo, they are a good “measure” that should not disappear after the most difficult months of the pandemic, because in this way a person can determine what type of respiratory infection he has And what measures should be taken to obtain it.

  • “For example, avoid taking antibiotics to treat symptoms of coronavirus, or consult vulnerable people about possible complications.”

But there is no doubt that the message from family doctors is “don’t go from one extreme to the other.” “We cannot go from wearing masks all day and carrying hydroalcoholic gel to meeting vulnerable people without any protection, even if we know we are sick.”

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