Wearing a mask does not lead to overexposure to carbon dioxide: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 04, 2020 Published on October 04, 2020

A recent study published in the journal of Annals of the American Thoracic Society stated that it is highly unlikely that a mask would cause overexposure to carbon dioxide, even for patients with lung issues.

The researchers carried out the study after some health experts claimed that wearing masks for long period could lead to a health risk.

Study co-author Michael Campos from the University of Miami said in a statement: “We show that the effects are minimal at most even in people with very severe lung impairment.” “It likely occurs from the restriction of airflow with the mask in particular when higher ventilation is needed (on exertion),” he explained, adding that shortness of breath is not due to lack of gas exchange after sporting a mask.

“If you're walking briskly up an incline, for example, you may experience feelings of breathlessness. An overly tight mask may also increase the feeling of breathlessness,” the scientists noted in a statement. They said the solution is to slow down or remove the mask if one is at a safe distance from other people.

Campos stressed the importance of wearing a face mask to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The researchers also stated that if a surgical mask is not available, a cloth mask with at least two layers, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should be worn.

They said patients with lung disease should take extra precautions by wearing a mask, which, along with hand washing and social distancing can reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.

The authors of the study wrote: “We acknowledge that our observations may be limited by sample size, however, our population offers a clear signal on the nil effect of surgical masks on relevant physiological changes in gas exchange under routine circumstances (prolonged rest, brief walking).”

Researchers stressed that people should not stop wearing masks due to some unsubstantiated safety concerns. They added that the “public should not believe that masks kill.”

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Published on October 04, 2020
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