Does wearing a mask harm your health?

No, wearing a mask will not harm your health even if you are sick with a cold or allergy. If your mask gets too wet, be sure to change it regularly. Masks help protect vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and are important for people to wear in areas where the community level of COVID-19 is high. All children over 2 years old can safely wear masks.

They should be considered for children aged 2 to 5 who are not yet eligible for COVID vaccines and people who are at risk of severe illness. People can choose to continue wearing masks when they go out to protect themselves or their family members. There have been concerns that face masks may reduce oxygen intake and cause low blood oxygen levels, known as hypoxemia. However, masks are made of breathable materials that don't block the oxygen your child needs.

Masks have not been shown to affect a child's ability to concentrate or learn at school. The vast majority of children 2 years and older can safely wear masks for extended periods of time, such as during preschool or daycare. This includes most children with special health care needs. There have been false reports that masks can cause carbon dioxide poisoning (known as hypercapnia) by re-breathing the air we normally exhale.

Carbon dioxide molecules are very small, even smaller than respiratory droplets. They cannot be trapped by breathable materials such as disposable masks. In fact, surgeons wear tight masks all day long as part of their work, without any harm. Children under the age of 2 should not wear masks, as they may not be able to remove them without assistance.

Children with severe breathing problems or cognitive impairments may also have difficulty tolerating a mask and additional precautions may be needed. Wearing a mask does not weaken your immune system or increase your chances of getting sick if you are exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Wearing a mask, even if you don't have symptoms of COVID-19, helps prevent the spread of the virus. Another benefit of wearing masks is that they can prevent people from touching their mouth and face, which is another way that COVID, colds, flu and RSV and other respiratory illnesses spread.

Dickinson, MD, MPH, FAAP, Pediatric Pulmonary Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Guilbert, MD, MS, FAAP, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and Director of the Asthma Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in the Lung Division. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Pediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine Section of the AAP. Wearing masks, in combination with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, can help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 2 years of age and older wear a mask when in public places. However, there has been a lot of debate about the use of masks and disinformation has been spread online. A cloth mask is worn to help protect others if you have the virus. Countries that required masks, tests, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic seem to have had some success in slowing the spread of the disease.

Common sense also suggests that some protection is better than none. There is currently no evidence that wearing masks weakens the immune system in any way. It is also absurd that CO2 accumulates under the mask and harms us. The CO2 molecules are so small that there is no problem for them to go through the mask.

Only the bacteria you exhale will remain inside the mask. If you use it correctly and wash or boil it after each use, there can be no significant multiplication of bacteria. We wear masks all day in the hospital. Masks are designed to breathe and there is no evidence of low oxygen levels.

However, there is some evidence that prolonged use of N-95 masks in patients with pre-existing lung disease could cause some build-up of carbon dioxide levels in the body. People with pre-existing lung problems should discuss wearing masks with their healthcare providers. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that wearing masks or physical distancing weakens the immune system. For the clinical setting in hospitals and outpatient clinics, WHO guidelines recommend only surgical masks for influenza viruses for all patient treatment, except for strongly aerosol-generating measures, for which thinner filtering masks of the N95 type are recommended.

Of interest here were, on the one hand, ready-made and self-made cloth masks, including so-called community masks and, on the other hand, medical, surgical and N95 masks (FFP2 masks). Doctors in New York studied the effects of surgical and N95 mask use among medical personnel in a sample of 343 participants (surveyed using standardized and anonymous questionnaires). When you wear a dirty mask over and over again, you end up breathing in bacteria or viruses that could get trapped in the mask. However, we found more relevant and significant evidence of increased heart rate, headache, fatigue, and concentration problems associated with mask wearers (Figure indicating the clinical relevance of mask use.

In a review article on the risks and benefits of masks worn during the COVID-19 crisis, other authors provide an equally critical assessment of mandatory mask use for patients with pneumonia, with and without COVID-19 pneumonia disease. In addition, the masks are soaked by exhaled air, which potentially accumulates infectious agents from the nasopharynx and also from the ambient air outside and inside the mask. In a recent intervention study of eight subjects, measurements of the gas content for oxygen (measured in% O2 by volume) and carbon dioxide (measured in ppm CO2) in the air under a mask showed lower oxygen availability even at rest than without a mask. The possible side effects and dangers of masks described in this article are based on studies of different types of masks.

The only possible health problem caused by wearing a mask may be an allergic skin reaction to the material from which the face mask is made (if you suffer from such an allergy). Initially, there was a significant shortage of face masks for front-line workers, which is why authorities were reluctant to recommend the use of masks to the general public. According to the literature, both health workers and lay people make mistakes when wearing masks, since the use of hygienically correct masks is not at all intuitive. A New York study evaluated in a random sample of 343 participants the effects of frequent use of surgical masks and N95 masks among health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there seems to be a consensus among decision-makers who have introduced mandatory masks that medical exemptions are justified, it is ultimately the responsibility of individual physicians to weigh when to recommend exemption from mandatory masks. WHO, for example, lists the advantages of wearing masks by healthy people in public to include a possible reduction in the stigmatization of mask wearers, a sense of contribution to preventing the spread of the virus, and a reminder to comply with other measures. . .