Does Wearing a Face Mask Affect Oxygen Levels?
Many people refuse to wear a disposable face mask, complaining about not being able to breathe in it. Is it really so?
This issue has doctors around the world seriously worried. Some of them have highlighted the issue on social media, debunking this persistent myth. Today, Cook It will share with you one of such experiments. Furthermore, we will also tell you whether or not this basic protective means actually interferes with breathing.
Disposable Face Masks
To begin with, we must state that we are not speaking about people whose medical conditions prevent them from wearing a face mask. Undoubtedly, some people really can’t and shouldn’t wear them. However, it does not make it hard to breathe in one for the rest of us. Wearing a piece of cloth made of specialized medical material on your face does not obstruct the air supply. Imagine for a second how a construction worker spends his days working in a mask, doing manual labor, not to mention the doctors and nurses who wear face masks routinely!
Doctors from different countries were simply outraged by such a statement. Therefore, they started posting rebuttal posts on their social media. For example, surgeon Joshua Wolrich tweeted: “Masks categorically do not reduce oxygen saturation. This is a lie made up as an excuse by those who believe the pandemic is a hoax and that wearing a mask somehow encroaches on their rights. This is not an issue of freedom.”
Masks categorically do not reduce oxygen saturation. This is a lie made up as an excuse by those who believe the pandemic is a hoax and that wearing a mask somehow encroaches on their rights. This is not an issue of freedom.
— Dr Joshua Wolrich (BSc MBBS MRCS) (@drjoshuawolrich) July 9, 2020
Talking about freedom, quite recently, I witnessed the following situation. A woman on public transport refused to wear a face mask. To all comments, she simply replied: “I have the right to decide for myself whether or not to wear a mask.” But does she? Obviously, during a global pandemic and ongoing quarantine restrictions, we are required to wear face masks. As Dr. Joshua Wolrich said, it protects us and those around us.
Of course, the WHO has long confirmed that disposable face masks cannot guarantee complete protection against the virus. Nevertheless, they do reduce the risk of infection. Moreover, this basic protective means is essential if you already know that you are ill. Thus, you are less likely to infect anyone else.
Experiment With a Face Mask
Responding to the requests of his patients, a doctor from Ireland decided to conduct an interesting experiment. In his video, he put on six masks at once. Simultaneously, the man connected himself to an oxygen saturation monitor. The figure SpO2 indicates what percentage of your blood is saturated. Normally, it is 95 and above. If it is below 90, it is cause for concern, and the person affected should immediately seek medical help.
As a result, the doctor’s reading ranged from 98–99 %, meaning that a face mask (or 6!) does not prevent oxygen from getting to your body. Still, the experiment caused a wide response in the community. There are conflicting comments constantly appearing under the video below. “Of course, nothing will change in one minute, but if you walk like that for several hours, everything will be much worse,” people write.
It is difficult to disagree with this. However, no one forces us to wear six masks at the same time. This experiment is an obvious exaggeration to prove a point. One properly-worn face mask will not take away your ability to breathe. To feel as comfortable as possible, you need to find one that suits you. For example, many people prefer wearing a homemade cotton mask. By making your own, you can ensure that it covers your face and fits snugly but not tightly.
If you still resist the obligatory protective means, think about our doctors and nurses. They wear disposable face masks throughout their shift. These are the heroes of our time who help those in need every day. And to make it easier for them to work, you and I need to observe all the precautions. Take care of yourself and your loved ones!