Masks and face coverings have become a staple in 2020. As we came out of lockdown, social distancing and precaution catapulted to the forefront of society with masks becoming mandatory in many public spaces.
Yes, they can be uncomfortable, however it is important to remember that wearing a mask keeps you safe. It helps us to protect the most vulnerable in our society and everyone coming together to keep each-other safe is a wonderful thing to have come out of a difficult year.
With masks being worn in public being a new practice, there have been many myths and theories about their effectiveness and even their dangers. We wanted to help you feel a little bit better about wearing your mask and so have collected some of the most common Mask Myths.
MYTH: I feel fine and I practice social distancing so I don’t need a mask.
FACT: The CDC has reported that over 40% of COVID-19 transmissions occur before anyone even feels unwell. People can be pre-symptomatic (before symptoms) and asymptomatic (no noticeable symptoms) and can unknowingly or unintentionally spread the virus. This is why WHO and CDC ask us not ONLY to socially distance but to ensure our masks are used in busier areas. This is how you can protect others. If we all wear our masks, we protect each other as much as possible in daily life.
MYTH: Wearing a mask can bring my oxygen levels down and cause me to ingest too much carbon dioxide, making me unwell.
FACT: There have been a number of healthcare professionals who have carried out public tests on face masks and their impact on your oxygen levels, which is zero. CTV News published a test where a doctor used 6 face masks at once, with no detrimental effect on their oxygen level.
Prof Keith Neal told the BBC News,
"The prolonged use of medical masks when properly worn, does not cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.”
Carbon monoxide poisoning would only occur if you wore an air-tight mask where you reuse breathed air. This is not possible with breathable masks above the recommended 3 ply filters.
If wearing a mask does cause you to feel anxious, this may cause lightheaded feelings or dizziness, in this case it may be helpful to use meditation to feel more at ease.
MYTH: Wearing a mask can weaken my immune system and make me more susceptible to the virus.
FACT: WHO and the CDC have explained that the virus is spread by water droplets leaving the mouth and being placed onto other surfaces or individuals unintentionally. Wearing a mask helps us to prevent this spread but it doesn’t prevent all microbes from leaving your body. We are still exposed to healthy amounts of germs every day but we do not notice this due to our immune systems. The InterMountain Health Group claims if masks weakened our immune systems, surgeons who wear masks for long periods of time would die before the age of 50.
MYTH: Herd immunity is much easier. Once we all catch COVID-19 we can resume with our daily lives.
FACT: Although Herd Immunity is a possibility, it comes with a significant price. If everyone was to catch the virus without a vaccine available our death toll could become significantly higher once again. We look forward to the day where we do not need to actively think about COVID-19, but we don’t want this to be a sacrifice for the vulnerable in our society.
MYTH: Requiring masks is unconstitutional.
FACT: Under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, governments have the authority to regulate public health and safety and to take emergency action. This means governing authorities have the ability to require masks to be worn in certain areas. Although you are perfectly within your rights to choose to not wear a mask, it may mean certain States or establishments can require a mask for entry.
When we choose to wear our mask, we are choosing to make a statement that we care about the people around us. We are taking a stand to protect each other and allowing for businesses to re-open safely and securely. Throughout 2020 we have stood together as one world to combat COVID-19, but it isn’t over yet.
We understand that you may have concerns about wearing a mask but hope that this has helped you in some way. If you do have any more questions, we would love to hear from you! Head over to our social channels and let us know if this article has helped make you feel a little bit better.