Medical masks a healthy winter courtesy: Poll

David Harkin of Bega says wearing a medical face mask while suffering from a cold should be more common.

David Harkin of Bega says wearing a medical face mask while suffering from a cold should be more common.

A VISITOR to the BDN office this week came bearing good and bad news.

Bad was David Harkins had a fairly heavy cold and sore throat.

However, as a plus (for the rest of us in the office) he was wearing a medical face mask.

“It’s a matter of courtesy – it should be standard winter etiquette,” Mr Harkins said.

Mr Harkins said face masks were available to patients at the Bega Valley Medical Practice, alongside the more regularly used hand sanitiser.

He questioned why more people during winter didn’t take on the same protective measure out of respect for others.

“The Japanese do it, why don’t we?”

Sue Mackinnon, practice nurse at the Bega Valley Medical Practice said the masks were very helpful in preventing the spread of infection.

“As a nurse we get person after person sneezing on us so it’s a good safety barrier,” Ms Mackinnon said.

“There was a young boy in the waiting room the other day with the sun streaming in from behind him – he did the biggest sneeze, it was fabulous, I wish I could’ve recorded it.

“There was a perfect triangle of infected droplets [caught by the sunbeam], it was amazing.”

Ms Mackinnon said the masks could also be useful in the patient waiting room, particularly for immuno-compromised people such as those going through chemo treatment.

“For them to get a cold could be a disaster – some of them even wear the masks to protect themselves.”

Ms Mackinnon said simply washing your hands was an effective measure against spreading infection, but she thought wearing the masks more often was “a jolly good idea”. 

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