• Gena Hardy

Face mask: myths vs. facts

Photo: Unsplash

Oklahoma is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Health officials say Oklahoma, for the last seven days, has seen 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of two wear a mask while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

One local doctor is asking the public to do their part and wear a mask to help protect local communities.

Our only motive in asking our community to wear masks is to keep each other from getting sick,” said Dr. Robert Blakeburn. “Most of us who get this [virus] will never have symptoms but [we] can share it.”

“We are asking you to wear mask because our local community, Custer County, is experiencing an influx of COVID-19 cases and the hospitals in OKC are already getting overwhelmed,” Blakeburn said.

Integris Health, Oklahoma’s largest hospital network, also debunked mask myths in the following article: https://integrisok.com/landing/covid-19-resources/mask-myths-and-facts.

Here are a few of those myths from the article:

Myth: Wearing a cloth mask does not protect me from getting COVID-19.

Fact: A cloth mask is worn to help protect others in case you have the virus. Countries that required face masks, testing, isolation, and social distancing early in the pandemic have had success slowing the disease's spread. Common sense also suggests that some protection is better than none.

Cloth masks reduce the number of respiratory droplets a person releases into the air when talking, sneezing or coughing. The overall number of droplets in the air is reduced when more people wear masks, and thus, reduces your risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

Myth: Wearing a mask will increase the amount of carbon dioxide I breathe and will make me sick.

Fact: Some people have heard that breathing in CO2 from wearing a mask can cause symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, and shortness of breath. However, the amount of CO2 created by wearing a mask is minuscule. For many years, health care providers have worn masks for extended periods of time with no adverse health reactions.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth masks while in public. There is no risk of hypoxia (lower oxygen levels), in healthy adults. Carbon dioxide will freely diffuse through your mask as you breathe.

If you feel uncomfortable in your mask, try to limit your talking. Breathing through your nose also helps. Together, these steps will reduce the humidity level in your mask.

Be aware that once a mask gets wet (perhaps from exhalation), it begins to lose its effectiveness and will need to be washed or replaced.

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