Get a grip everyone. Yes, the swine flu is spreading. Yes, people are dying and have died.
But if you think wearing a face mask is going to stop the H1N1 virus from getting you, think again.
"Very little is known about the benefits of wearing facemasks and respirators to help control the spread of pandemic flu," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its web site.
This is not a reason to panic (more) – or curse at us because you think we’re being flip. If wearing a face mask makes you feel better, that's fine.
But buying Costo-size boxes of face masks is not going to save you. Neither will buying third-party overnight shipments of Tamiflu, oregano oil or anti-microbial rinses.
It's all about washing your hands (a lot), covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm when you cough and sneeze, staying away from other people if you're sick, and avoiding large crowds and crowded places.
Got it? Now let's look at what else the CDC has to say: "There may be times during a pandemic when you must be in a crowded setting or in close contact (within 6 feet) with people who might be ill. During such times, the use of a facemask or a respirator might help prevent the spread of pandemic flu."
Wh-a-a-a-t? Ohmigod. Get us a face mask. Now.