Do Face Masks on a plane reduce risk of getting COVID?

Do Face Masks on a plane reduce risk of getting COVID?

The CDC just released a statement that it strongly recommends all passengers and crew members wear a face mask when traveling.  Early on in the pandemic air travel was a risky endeavor and some worried it would be sites of super spreader events.  An example was a woman on a 10 hour flight in March had a cough and sore throat ended up infecting 15 people around where she was sitting.  Then in early April many airlines changed policy to require and many enforce all passengers to wear a face mask when traveling with them.  Most airports also developed a policy that all travelers should wear a disposable face mask at all times when in the airport or surrounding areas.

The question for individuals and families that like to travel is it safe to travel these days?  

With all airlines now adapting and fully sanitizing the plane after each use and with extra precautions in the airport it is now a lot safer than earlier this year.  It is critical to wear a 3ply disposable face mask at all times from when you enter the airport to getting to your final destination.  Bringing a little bottle of disinfectant with you can help to disinfect surfaces around your seat such as armrests, tray tables and seatbacks.  Use hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes throughout the flight and avoid touching your face at all times.  As wearing a 3ply mask is important, it is also important to practice social distancing when in the airport when at all possible and cleaning your hands when possible.  Studies are also offering glimmers of hope as well with fresh ideas about what's most important for protecting yourself on a plane by following the above steps.

Planes do have an advance filtration system with HEPA filters that remove 99% of the harmful particles from the air which really reduces the risk and really limits your exposure to those that you are sitting close to.  This filtering system won't prevent transmission from close contact with others but will help keep the are around you purified.  Try to keep the chatter to a minimum because when you talk, you emit 10 times the amount of droplets then when just sitting quietly or listening to your favorite music. 

When sitting in a small crowded environment like a plan really highlights the importance of being extra careful in wearing a face mask that meets the full protection standards.  If you are wearing a cloth mask that is not fully rated you may not be getting the full protection that is needed.  A surgical grade 3ply disposable mask that has been tested to ASTM standards will ensure that you are getting the maximum protection at all times. 


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