This review examines which physical interventions are most effective in interrupting or reducing the spread of respiratory viruses in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Seven out of eight studies included masks and six out of seven studies found masks to be statistically significant in reducing the spread of respiratory infection in multivariable analysis. The N95 respirator has not been shown to be superior to the simple surgical mask in reducing the spread of respiratory infection, however, it may be useful in emergent, high risk environments. Simple surgical masks were found to be one of the best combination interventions for preventing the spread of respiratory viruses across populations, settings and various threat levels. Overall, the simple act of hand washing, with or without antiseptic and antiviral agents, reduces the transmission of respiratory viruses. The use of frequent hand washing and simple surgical masks may be best utilized in the community when there is an increased risk of respiratory infection. The use of multiple physical interventions such as masks, gowns and gloves may be best utilized in an acute care setting when high viral load and high viral infectiousness is present.