No, face masks do not reduce oxygen levels


By Amy Norton Healthday Reporter

TUESDAY, November 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Face masks: Yes, they may not be the most enjoyable items to wear, but they are not depriving people of the necessary oxygen, a new study confirms.

The findings should counter a common anti-mask myth – that donating a face mask is unhealthy.

Claims that masks reduce oxygen supply, cause carbon dioxide “intoxication” and have weakened the immune system, have become part steam by social media.

At the same time, medical officials, including the World Health Organization and the American Lung Association, have issued statements debating those myths. But the claims remain.

So researchers at McMaster University in Canada set out to test the assumption: they saw 25 adults (mean age: 76.5 years) wearing a face mask as a portable pulse oximeter, as well as before and after their blood oxygen. Given to measure level.

Investigators did not find signs of hypoxia, or decreased blood oxygen.

Of course, “it supports what we already knew,” Dr. Aaron Glatt, an infectious disease specialist who was not involved in the study. “There is no reduction in oxygen by wearing a mask.”

Some people may feel uncomfortable wearing masks, said the famous Glatt, a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America. But there is no excuse for doing so, he said.

“I look at the mask like a seat belt,” Glatt said. “They are not necessarily comfortable, but they protect you.”

For the study, Drs. Noel Chan’s team dressed each participant with a three-layered, disposable, nonmedical face mask. Volunteers wore them during their normal daily routines, or comfortably, and used a pulse oximeter to track their oxygen levels for an hour before wearing a mask, for an hour and then an hour thereafter. for.

Overall, there was no drop in blood oxygen saturation. Before participants were masked, the average oxygen saturation was 96.1%, and then slightly higher when they wore masks and later – 96.5% and 96.3%, respectively.

The findings were published online as a research paper in the October 30 issue Journal of the American Medical Association.

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