Influenza is transmitted more easily than previously thought. New information on the spread of the influenza virus reveals that it is suspended in the air we exhale, especially at the beginning of the disease. Barrier measures are not enough: you have to wear a mask or stay at home when it starts.
People generally think that they can get the flu by being exposed to a cough, sneezing, or postilion of an infected person or by touching surfaces contaminated by their handkerchiefs or hands. But it is also transmitted more simply than that.
A new study shows that the virus is aerosolized in the air that a patient expires, especially at the beginning of the disease. This can be explained by the large amounts of virus at the stage that can end up in the exhaled air of people suffering from the flu. No need to cough, blow your nose or sneeze to spread it.
« We found that people infected with the flu contaminate the air around them with the virus just by breathing, and without coughing or sneezing "summarizes Dr. Milton, lead author of the study. " People with influenza produce infectious aerosols even when they are not coughing, especially during the first days of illness. "
Tips to preserve yourself
The results of the study suggest that insisting on cleanliness, washing hands all the time, and avoiding coughing people does not provide complete protection against the flu. At the beginning of the infection, it is better to stay at home!
Confining the sick at home at the beginning of the disease, and out of public spaces, will better fight against the spread of the influenza virus. A mask worn by the patient can probably avoid spreading the virus spray away from the patient. According to the authors, the findings could be used to improve mathematical models of the risk of influenza transmission by people with infectious diseases.
Improvements could also be made to ventilation systems to reduce the risk of transmission in offices, classrooms and the metro, for example. Meanwhile, researchers insist on staying home, if possible, especially at the beginning of the illness.
These data limit the effectiveness of the "barrier actions" advocated by the Ministry of Health, but do not call into question their effectiveness.