Health

N95 Mask Unlikely to Cause Breathing Problems

Image: Connecticut Public Radio

The practice of wearing a face mask has been recommended by all health agencies around the world for coronavirus pandemic. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggests all people should wear a mask before going outdoors whether it is a fabric mask or the specialized N95 mask. This is because wearing a mask is necessary to stop coronavirus transmission.

Research on face masks shows that the practice prevented thousands of new infections. Prior to the coronavirus health crisis, wearing a face-covering was also a fundamental part of previous epidemics.

In fact, the medical community has noted that countries that mandated the practice of wearing a mask in the early days of the pandemic were successfully able to flatten the curve. On the other hand, countries struggling to make wearing a mask compulsory are seeing soaring death rates due to the coronavirus infection.

Read also: FDA Warns Against Hand Sanitizers Containing Toxins 

The best example of countries that stopped coronavirus transmission using masks is East Asian countries. This includes both South Korea and Japan, both of which have the lowest death rate even though they were situated far nearer to China than other countries.

Another study has also found that masks can have benefits in addition to stopping droplets containing the coronavirus from being released into the air such as encouraging social distancing. Masks can act as a reminder of the prevailing threat and the risk of infection.

Read more: Face Masks May Also Help in Social Distancing 

Therefore, people are likely to stay away and maintain social distance from those who are wearing a mask. In comparison, whenever a person chooses not to wear a face mask, people are more likely to break social distancing rules.

Even though the benefits of wearing a face mask are apparent, there have been a number of concerns recently regarding the practice. At the moment, it is becoming a widespread belief that wearing a face mask, specifically, an N95 mask can cause health issues including difficulty in breathing.

A rising number of people are starting to believe that an N95 mask can cause CO2 retention or hypercapnia after there have been reports of people blaming their face coverings for accidents and crashing. However, the medical community states that wearing an N95 mask or any kind of face-covering cannot be the cause of an accident.

Dr. Robert Glatter, who is an emergency physician in New York, explains that wearing any kind of mask does not pose a threat to the health of any healthy adult and nor can it cause CO2 retention. This goes for both usual fabric masks and specialized N95 masks.

Normal gas exchange also takes place while wearing a mask. Therefore, a normal, good-fitted mask cannot cause difficulty in breathing. The only people who should be concerned about potential adverse effects are those with severe lung issues and sleep apnea.

For people who require oxygen due to lung disease, consulting a doctor before wearing any kind of mask is especially compulsory. However, if a person does not have any chronic lung illness or breathing problem, an N95 mask or a fabric mask is unlikely to cause any issues.

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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