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Face masks prevent the spread of respiratory viruses

Face masks prevent the spread of respiratory viruses


Using face masks correctly in public settings helps reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. These viruses spread to people within close contact via small droplets sprayed into the air by someone with the virus who coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. Wearing face masks that cover the nose, mouth, and chin and fit snuggly across your cheeks helps reduce the spray of respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth. Wearing a face mask may also protect you from infection.

Review Date 2/22/2023

Updated by: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.