Categories: Health & Fitness

Surgical masks: a study shows the interest of keeping it at the doctor’s

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At a time when everyone is tempted to give up wearing a mask due to the decrease in Covid-19 cases, and when the World Health Organization considers that Covid-19 is no longer a health emergency of international scope, the question arises of maintaining the wearing of masks in medical settings.

For infectious disease experts from the George Washington University School of Medicine (United States), it is obvious that the wearing of masks in medical settings must be maintained. In a comment in the journal Annals of International Medicine (Source 1), they highlight the effectiveness of wearing the mask to limit the transmission of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases between patients and healthcare professionals. But beyond that, two other reasons lead to keeping your mask on when you have an appointment with a doctor or any other health professional: presenteeism, and the presymptomatic transmission of respiratory viruses.

Between presenteeism and absence of symptoms

A compelling reason to continue to mask during health care is presenteeism, a behavior that long preceded and will likely survive the pandemic. Healthcare workers have been known to come to work when sick”, write the authors of the scientific commentary.

According to several recent studies, between half and two-thirds of healthcare professionals have admitted coming to work with symptoms of respiratory illness. Among the reasons given, the reluctance to impose the burden of an absence on colleaguesthe (often mistaken) belief that some respiratory infections are insignificant, fear of reprisals on the part of his hierarchy, the lack of paid leave, or even the moral imperative to be with his patients. The wearing of the mask by both health professionals and patients makes it possible, to a certain extent, to alleviate this.

The authors of the comment also refer to the presymptomatic transmission of respiratory viruses, in particular Sars-CoV-2 responsible for Covid-19. Up to a third of infections with the Omicron variant would thus be asymptomatic. If the infection seems to become benign for the majority of the populationit can still cause severe forms in the most vulnerable people, especially the elderly and/or immunocompromised. Wearing a mask in the medical environment limits the spread of respiratory viruses and therefore protects this more vulnerable population.

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