*sneezes* Image: Getty

The New York Times just ratcheted up flu season panique with this piece detailing how this year’s flu season is on track to be worse than 2009's swine flu epidemic. Here are your options: get a flu shot; read this book and then get a flu shot; or get ready to spend the next few months wearing a face mask.

“A what?” you ask. “A face mask? For why would I need such a thing?” Let the paper of record slap some sense into you.

More people fell ill during the 2009 “swine flu” pandemic, but that was a new virus. This year’s dominant virus, H3N2, has been circulating for 50 years — it emerged as the “Hong Kong flu” in 1968 — but it is usually the most lethal of the seasonal strains.

H3N2 also was responsible for bad seasonal flu years in 1997-1998 and 2003-2004, Dr. Jernigan said.

This year’s intensity is high by several measures that the C.D.C. uses. For three weeks straight, the health departments of 49 states — all except Hawaii — have reported “widespread” flu activity.

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Don’t get the flu! The flu is bad! Children and old people die from the flu! Use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth when you cough (into your ELBOW), wash your hands a bunch, and if you don’t want to do any of the things I just mentioned, get READY to strap on winter’s hottest accessory—a surgical face mask so that you do not spray your grubby and gross germs into the airspace of your fellow humans!

Will a face mask protect you from the flu? It’s not going to hurt, so why not give it a whirl? You’ll look chic and also people will steer clear because they’ll think you’re sick even if you’re not, thereby preventing the spread of illnesses and allowing you some personal space.

Below, a few options.

Image: Ebay

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Sate the hypebae within with these knockoff neoprene Supreme face masks that probably don’t do much for the flu but will make you look like a swagged-out InstaFLUencer making calls on your money phone!! So chic! So ca-yuuuuute. Bonus: in winter, your face will be warm. That’s nice!

YES I WANT TO LOOK LIKE A BEAR. Image: Amazon

If dressing like a 15 year old boy who spends his weekends waiting in lines for Supreme drops is not your steeze, may I humbly suggest these—chic in black and will make you look like a bear. Everyone wants to look like a bear, right?! Everyone also wants to sneeze and keep their little germ droplets to their damn self while sneezing, so please, for Christ’s sake, BUY THIS THREE PACK AND CALL IT A NIGHT.

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HELLO.

Line is an app that my mother made me download before we left for Taiwan so that I could communicate with my family. I check our group messages primarily so that I can see pictures of Buffy, my aunt’s insane Maltese. Line also has a variety of “stickers” that you use in the app featuring their friends; there’s a bear and a duck and a human. These face masks feature the friends. Think of it is a Hello Kitty upgrade; fuck a mouthless cat, gimme Choco Bear on a soft terry-cloth and let me live.

This, my friends, is the tip of the iceberg. eBay’s got your back if you need more fa-shun inspo, but mark my words—when everyone around you is consumed with influENza, you will be happy as a healthy clam with your mouth and nose covered in a freaking face mask. Thank you.