Some people are not very happy about the mandatory mask policy that’s happening in most cities. We can understand why people would opt out of wearing a face mask. It’s not necessarily the most appealing accessory to rock, especially with all the pollen, sweat, and makeup that can cling to masks.
But it seems that the real information on masks is being overshadowed by weird memes and fake medical claims made by the media (since when are tabloid writers informed medical professionals?) it seems that we have to make our voices heard to straighten out some information, because people are believing some really bizarre things.
A small action to prevent a larger disaster
In this hot and humid weather, just wearing normal clothes can feel like a burden. Add a snug layer of fabric to your face, and it’s a recipe for discomfort. Many have been complaining about mask acne or “maskne” while others are upset that the backs of their ears get irritated and sensitive.
However, while all these things seem like annoying inconveniences, it’s nothing when compared to what could happen after getting infected with COVID-19. Wearing a mask or face covering is meant to reduce potentially infectious respiratory droplets from exhaled breath of the person wearing the mask.
That being said, there are some myths out there that wearing face masks causes damage to our lungs and overall health. This is a perfect example of fake news, and there’s no truth to this, so if you were considering joining on of the ridiculous mask-protesting brigades, keep that in mind.
They don’t harm your lungs
First off, wearing face masks daily does not cause carbon dioxide poisoning and it does not hurt your lungs in any way.
It also won’t reduce oxygen intake levels and deprive tissues of air, which is a condition called hypoxia.
If you have any doubt on this, you can check out snopes.com, a reputable fact-checking site which has debunked many theories on what happens to your lungs when wearing a mask for extended period of time. The logic is that if the mask isn’t air tight, and if you’re not breathing in recycled air, you will be fine.
One guest post on Forbes, a cancer research scientist confirms that this is impossible, because carbon dioxide molecules are “simply too small to be controlled by the majority of mask materials and simply pas right through.”
In an example, the author talked about surgeons, who wear masks for hours with normal CO2 levels throughout surgeries without being effected. Apparently, exogenous and other gaseous molecules are even smaller than the tiny coronavirus particles.
The exceptions are far and few
Some people who have pre-existing breathing issues such as asthma may argue that wearing a mask is difficult, but for most people, it still won’t involve hypercapnia, or carbon dioxide poisoning.
Healthcare professionals actually emphasizes that those with asthma and delicate airways make sure to always wear a mask, since their immune systems are even more compromised.
Unless you’re going into a burning building or heading to the moon sometime soon, it’s probable that wearing a face mask won’t have any negative effect.
So what actually happens to your breathing capacity and lungs if you wear a mask for a long time?
Nothing. Nothing at all. And it’s best to remember that while we might have options to wear masks, doing so is the least we can do. There are millions of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals risking their lives on a daily basis while wearing masks for hours and hours on end until their faces bruise.
When to not wear a mask
If you’re outside and around other people in public or in a store, you should be wearing a mask. Here are the very few instances in which someone should not be wearing a mask:
- If you’re exercising, or other situations where the mask may become wet
- If you have a young child, as their lungs aren’t fully developed
- If you have a severe respiratory condition and struggle breathing normally
What to do if you have a problem with wearing masks
No one is forcing you to wear a mask. But when it comes to entering stores and supermarkets, you can expect to be turned down. If you want your facial skin to be free all summer, then don’t leave the house! There are plenty of delivery services to get you what you need.
If you are a happy mask-wearer and know other people who are hesitant based on misinformation, please educate them on the right info – you’re doing everyone a service.