Mask are very important to consider, especially
when you’re coming in for evaluation. You may not know if you have influenza or not.
You might have a common cold virus or something else going on, but if there’s any question
of having a respiratory illness or fevers during influenza season, I think it’s important
that patients either the let the scheduler know as they’re coming in, or take the initiative
to put a mask on when they come into the clinic for evaluation. And our clinic has those available
at the doors for people with the idea being that we want to protect other people in the
clinic as well from getting those infections. Other times to wear a mask or consider wearing
a mask would be if you’ve had influenza and you need to go out into the community for
some reason, you could consider wearing a mask in an effort to try and not spread the
virus within the community. But in general it’s recommended that if you’ve been sick
with influenza, you should try to avoid community settings, usually for about a week from the
onset of your symptoms or until about 24 hours after the fevers have resolved. At that point
you really won’t be contagious anymore. So if you have to be in the community during
that timeframe, a mask would be helpful.