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New study shows flu can be spread just by breathing

New study shows flu can be spread just by breathing

Little is known about the amount and infectiousness of influenza virus shed into exhaled breath. This contributes to uncertainty about the importance of airborne influenza transmission.

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Finding infectious virus in 39% of fine-aerosol samples collected during 30 min of normal tidal breathing in a large community-based study of confirmed influenza infection clearly establishes that a significant fraction of influenza cases routinely shed infectious virus, not merely detectable RNA, into aerosol particles small enough to remain suspended in air and present a risk for airborne transmission.

Full Paper: pnas.org/content/early/2018...

Popularisation: newatlas.com/flu-spread-bre...

Note: A 2013 study from the same team found that wearing a surgical mask significantly reduces the transmission of influenza via airborne droplets. So it doesn't really matter if you aren't coughing or sneezing, you still are effectively transmitting the flu to others just by breathing near them unless you wear a mask.

Not at all comforting news if you are out and about...

Neil

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Thanks AussieNeil. Guess we all need to stay away from people.

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I'm not really surprised by this. If the bugs are in our lungs and respiratory tracts, then I'd expect them to come out as we breathe, though in lower numbers than in coughs and sneezes.

As I was walking down our street today, I met a neighbour who told me what a terrible cough and cold he'd had, for the last few weeks. :-( I immediately took a step backwards (even though he wasn't actually coughing).

Paula

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Masks help prevent transmission to others... but they only offer limited protection to the wearer...

My hospital has adopted a policy that masks must be worn by everyone in the CLL clinic waiting area... good move in my view.

~chris

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I'm not surprised at that either and am being quite cautious this year.

This year I decided to be most reclusive in flu season. Last February I had the most difficult upper respiratory situation i have had in years. So this year I have taken cover. I do go to the grocery and I take walks around the neighborhood when the weather permits. I stop to talk with neighbors when that is possible. The grocery store is probably the most dangerous.

It is going to be a long winter with few meet ups, but hopefully no antibiotics for this season. (I have been watching after a 98 year old neighbor who lives alone, but have recently talked with her family about her needing more than I can offer and possibly a move to assisted living. The family seems willing to try to get something worked out--if their mother will allow.---hoping I will be a bit more flexible when my time comes for changing living situation, but who knows until the time comes.)

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I have worried about that when at the clinic as well. Saw many more people than usual wearing masks. Made me more nervous than normal. Wondered if they were sick, or did not want to get sick. Got IVIG on Friday and CLL Doc says he wants me to have it every month instead of every 2 months during the flu season. They did do a nasal swab on me prior to the IVIG and as of Friday, I officially do not have any of the known flu viruses they test for. That's some good news!!! I too, am staying away from large groups, and not going out around people anymore than I have to. Also wearing gloves more and keeping them on longer. Also, have started wearing a disposable surgical gloves when I go to any public restrooms. My fingertips and nails are in such bad shape the constant hand washing was making them worse. We all have to do what we can to stay healthy.

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Yes. I even hate going grocery shopping knowing I could catch the flu there. Airborne or even touching something someone with the flu just touched. This has not been a good winter and we still have Feb and part of March to go. Theraflu only reduces symptoms or gets you over the flu in a day or two less. Hoping against hope no one in my family comes down with it, including me. Good health to all of you too!

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I remember when walking down the streets in Tokyo the great number of people sporting face masks and wondering why. I wish we would adopt this practice more in this country - I’ve had to contend with a coworker bringing his sick kid to work with him (I left) and another was sick with the flu for a week and came in because he was bored at home - he looked like death warmed over - I stayed at the other end of the building and when walking near him held my breath -

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It’s going to be a long winter, I started Ibrutinib and FCR in December, I have 4 more cycles to go and have been so apprehensive about leaving the house. I’m hoping that it warms up enough so that I can at least get out of the house for short walks in the neighborhood.

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I've been doing my best to avoid public places this winter. With hospitals over-run with flu cases, I was a nervous wreck when I had to take my husband to the emergency room for a kidney stone last week. Fortunately, an ice storm kept most people at home that day, but I must have looked ridiculous with my mask, globes, hat and coat on the entire 3 hours we were there! Whatever it takes though.....

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