As the Coronavirus vaccine is still a few months away, the masks are not going anywhere for a while and so are the face mask myths. It has been made mandatory in every public setting to wear a face mask but people are afraid to do so, due to the prevailing face mask myths that have flooded social media. The doctors, specialists, and health care professionals have got tired of saying, “Wear a mask” but these intelligent people have their own notions. Well, people did not leave their knuckles alone and formed myths about them, it is “the great COVID-19” we are talking about. They had to say something stupid about it too. So let’s try to understand why the mask is important and then we will discuss the face mask myths that do not let you wear a mask even when you want to.
Why is it important to wear a face mask?
Because you don’t want to catch Covid-19. Yes, at present this is the sole reason. But there are several others.
- It acts as a barrier between the carrier of the infection and a healthy person.
- It safeguards you from yourself. If your hands come into contact with an infected surface and then you touch your face, eyes, mouth, or nose, the infection is all yours. So, to avoid this, you need to wear a mask.
- It saves other people from you. If you are suffering from a cold or even the COVID-19 virus, it will not let the droplets pass when you cough or sneeze.
- If you come in contact with another person, it will not allow the aerosols to get into your mouth or nose.
- It is your only safeguard in a public place.
- A mask is important where social distancing is not possible.
- It is very cost-effective than any measure against the COVID-19 virus apart from your immunity.
These are the reasons you already knew about. Now, let’s talk about the face mask myths.
Face Mask Myths
This is Corona time and every time when want to you step out of the house, a voice comes from behind or from your mind, “Wear a mask”. And you want to but then you remember the myths you read or heard about wearing the mask on social media at 3 am last night when you couldn’t sleep. Some beautiful people who don’t want to hide their beauty behind a mask and who have nothing to do are spreading such myths. Some of the face mask myths are-
- It causes a lack of oxygen in your body.
- Wearing a mask causes CO2 poisoning.
- It does not let you breathe properly.
- It will cause a bacterial infection.
- A mask with a vent is better for breathing.
- People with pulmonary diseases like asthma or lung infections should not wear them.
Now, you must be thinking, “Yeah. I have heard about these too. Are they true?” No, they are not. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Myth 1- It Cause Lack of Oxygen
No, they do not. Think logically. You have been breathing all your life without a mask. Now, suddenly you need to wear it all the time when you are out. Of course, you are going to face some difficulty but when you wear it properly, it lets you breathe just fine. So, if you feel any difficulty, remember, it is a filter that will cause a little difficulty than normal as you are not in the habit. So, take long breaths and just calm down.
Many researchers tried it on themselves by wearing different masks while doing multiple masks and sometimes multiple tasks while wearing multiple masks. And they found that a mask does not affect the oxygen levels in your body. So, trust them, take a long breath, and get back to the work with the mask on.
Myth 2- It Causes CO2 Poisoning
In the earlier point, we already established that your breathing remains normal after wearing a mask. Yes, if you wear a mask that is too tight, you may breathe back carbon-dioxide. But the amount is so minimal that it is not going to poison you. If you really want to kill someone with CO2 poisoning, the concentration must be at least 4 percent. It’s like wrapping a plastic bag around the neck. But the mask you wear is comfortable enough to let the air get in and out without any problem. So, don’t worry, wearing the mask will not let you die of CO2 poisoning.
Myth 3- They Does Not Let You Breathe properly
Trust me, when the masks were designed, they were not made to choke you to death. Of course, they allow proper breathing and that’s why all the doctors, researchers, and health workers are requesting you to wear a mask to save you, not to kill you by shortness of breath because of a mask. In answer to the myths like this, it has been made clear by specialists. To date, there is no evidence that masks do not let you breathe properly. If that would be the case, the nurses, doctors, and health workers would be dead by now. These people are working day and night while wearing masks as well as protective kits.
Myth 4- Masks Cause Bacterial Infection
In India, most people are wearing cloth masks as they are durable and you don’t need to change it every day. During the summers, it is normal that these masks get all sweaty and damp and smells too. It is the same with disposable masks. It does not mean that it will cause you the infection. If you wash your cloth mask properly regularly, you are completely safe. As for the disposable masks, you can simply dispose them off.
Although, there are certain doubts about health workers using cloth masks, as you can see here, wearing them for a limited period of time is not going to get you the bacterial infection.
Myth 5- A Mask With A Vent is Better For Breathing
If all you are looking for is comfortable breathing, then do not wear a mask at all. The purpose of a mask is to stop the droplets and invisible aerosols from getting in and out of the mask. In a mask with a valve, this purpose is defeated as the vent surely allows you to breathe completely, but it also allows the infectious virus in the droplets to go out and be a guest in another body. It does not mean that you should go and buy yourself a N95 mask. Leave them for the doctors, nurses, and other professionals and buy or make yourself a mask without a vent.
Myth 6- People With Pulmonary Diseases Should Not Wear A Mask
Do you know that Coronavirus is fatal for people who are already suffering from diseases especially respiratory or pulmonary diseases? If you think that you should not wear a mask, it increases your chance of getting it even more which can be fatal for you. Even if you are suffering from diseases like asthma or any other chronic pulmonary disease, do wear a mask but make sure that you do not work in any stressful situation. Do not wear a mask that is too tight for you. It is supposed to allow you to breathe, after all. If you feel any difficulty in breathing, remove it for a while, and in a more critical situation, consult your doctor.
Mask Fact VS Face Mask Myths
The above myths are just excuses created by some people to avoid wearing a mask. Some people are taking it as a cultural assault while others want something to do with their time. We all need to understand that Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic due to a reason i.e. it is deadly. Face masks are your first and last shield against the COVID-19 virus.
Yes, they are awkward, they are uncomfortable and you are not habitual of this. But we are humans. We learned to survive among the pandemic, we will learn living with a mask. It is not a big deal. Do wear a mask, when you go outside. Wash your hands regularly. Keep a sanitizer with you. When needed, use gloves. Take every precaution and stay away from Coronavirus as well as the face mask myths and their spreaders.