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ABC News: Does Wearing a Mask While Traveling Ward off Illness? Here's What Experts Say

ABC News recently interviewed Jonathan Grein, MD, medical director of Cedars-Sinai Hospital Epidemiology, about the benefits, if any, of wearing a mask to prevent illnesses like coronavirus or the flu.

The outbreak has caused people from across the world to wear a mask while traveling in hopes of warding off illness, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend wearing a mask if you are a healthy traveler.

“There isn’t a lot of data to support if there is any benefit to wearing a mask in the public setting. It is currently unclear,” Grein told ABC News.

Instead, Grein suggests masks are best used by doctors and nurses when dealing directly with sick patients.

“We use them in the health care setting for two main reasons: to contain secretions of individuals who have respiratory infections and to protect healthcare workers providing direct care to patients.”

Other experts quoted in the ABC News article suggest that in addition to healthcare providers, masks should only be worn by those who are sick or have symptoms of sickness – not healthy travelers. That’s because a mask can actually be of harm to otherwise healthy individuals.

“The mask itself can become contaminated and serve as a source of infection actually doing more harm than good,” said Grein. “If wearing a mask, I caution (against) touching it.”

Instead, he suggests to avoid travel if you are ill, sneeze or cough into your sleeve – not your hand – and wash your hands frequently.

“And, it’s very important to get the flu shot,” Grein said, which will protect yourself and those around you.

Click here to read the complete story from ABC News.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Am I Still Contagious?