With coronavirus headlines growing more alarmist by the day, it’s not exactly surprising to see Kate Hudson wearing a face mask to travel. In fact, it’s becoming somewhat of a celebrity trend to share selfies wearing these on-the-rise travel accessories. But judging by the boon of advice (and, well, criticism) in Hudson’s comment feed, fans don’t feel as though she’s as prepared to fend off the coronavirus as she thinks.
On Tuesday, American health authorities put out a precautionary warning that they expect the coronavirus outbreak will eventually make its way to the U.S. Then, a few hours later, Hudson took to Instagram to share a photo of herself on a plane wearing a face mask. “Travel 2020,” she captioned the snapshot, adding a flushed face emoji. And it didn’t take long for fans to start doling out advice on how to better protect yourself during travel at this time of heightened health risks.
“I work for an airline,” wrote one commenter. “I don’t wear the mask when I travel, but I sure wipe the hell off every surface I might have to touch with disinfecting wipes.” Others suggested eye protection, loads of hand sanitizer and skipping flying altogether. But the most prolific suggestion given to Hudson was to upgrade her face mask. “If you’re worried about corona, only the N95 mask will protect you,” a nurse chimed in, pointing out that Hudson’s current mask “won’t do much.”
Hudson responded to that comment, hilariously saying, “Well, shit! This is the best I can do now! God speed.”
As for the N95 respirator, Hudson’s fans aren’t wrong in claiming they are more effective at preventing the spread of viruses than a standard surgical mask. According to the FDA website, “The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.”
Having said that, there are a few big caveats. The N95 respirators aren’t designed for public use, so they need to be “fit-tested” to ensure their efficacy. If they aren’t or are the wrong size, they might be just as ineffective as the surgical mask — which, for the record, is relatively ineffective since tiny respiratory droplets can easily get behind it.
For now, until more is known about the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommends people follow the general rules of avoiding respiratory viruses, like staying away from people who are sick, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding touching your eyes or nose.
However, face masks may help minimize anxiety for those who have to travel. So, if it makes Hudson (or Gwyneth Paltrow, or any of the other celebs who’ve taken face mask selfies) feel more secure to wear it, why not?