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October 10, 2023
As autumn arrives, bringing cooler temperatures, it also ushers in a season that is less favored by many—the respiratory virus season. During this season, COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for epidemiologists, and new variants like EG.5 and BA.2.86 are rapidly spreading.
Since COVID-19, influenza, and RSV all have very similar symptoms, you might want to start wearing a mask as soon as you start feeling the sniffles, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing. Likewise, if you know that you’ll be around someone who is feeling unwell, a mask may prevent you from infecting their illness.
Indoor environments facilitate the rapid spread of viruses as there is limited airflow to disperse viral particles. Wearing masks indoors, especially in crowded settings like concerts or airports, can help slow down the transmission of various respiratory illnesses.
Researchers emphasize that masks only partially reduce the spread of viruses, as particles can still come into contact with the eyes and face even when wearing a mask. If you have genuine concerns, it is advisable to avoid large gatherings and stay home if you have a fever or symptoms.
It can be challenging to assess the risk of COVID-19 due to the CDC and public health departments no longer tracking infection rates. If you feel unwell or receive positive results for influenza, COVID-19, or RSV, it is best to stay home or wear a mask if you must go out. Wear a mask in indoor situations when around large groups or high-risk people.