Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

The dangers of face masks

07 Jun 2020 at 06:05hrs | Views
The Zimbabwean government and indeed many governments have made it mandatory to wear a face mask in public as a health intervention to control the spread of coronavirus. It has not been explained fully that CORONA virus is not defeated by masks.

"Wearing a face mask may give a false sense of security and make people adopt a reduction in compliance with other infection control measures, including social distancing and hands washing.

So it is clear that wearing a face mask is one thing, but there has been less or no precautionary principles discussed on potentially-harmful side effects of such an intervention. Face masks are another ticking time bomb.

There are potential side effects of wearing masks for longer periods." wrote Antonio I. Lazzarino, Medical Doctor and Epidemiologist, of the University College London, in a letter to the journal BMJ about the side effects of face masks.

Face masks make breathing more difficult especially for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as asthma and bronchitis, which causes a decreased air flow. Also, a fraction of carbon dioxide previously exhaled is inhaled at each respiratory cycle. In effect, the wearer inhales her or his own exhaled air. Inhaling carbon dioxide causes rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, clumsiness, emotional upsets and fatigue. Basically, those two phenomena increase breathing frequency and deepness, hence increasing the amount of inhaled and exhaled air, according to medical experts. This may also worsen the clinical condition of infected people if the enhanced breathing pushes the viral load down into their lungs. The effects are amplified if face masks are heavily contaminated. Face masks demand extreme hygiene. In most normal cases face masks are used in very temporal circumstances. If they are to be used for a long time they will cause serious health problems. Again putting the mask for a longtime causes sight problems.

When one wears a mask, the easiest escape route for exhaled air is upward towards the eyes. This air goes into the eyes, generating an uncomfortable feeling and an impulse to touch your eyes. If your hands are contaminated, you are infecting yourself. This virus requires you to remain conscious all the time and try to resist the temptation to touch your face. It also demands that you wash your hands or regularly sanitise after contact with substances like door handles, elevator buttons, packages or anything else where germs and viruses thrive. Notably, for those who use eye glasses, air creates fog and messes with one's sight every moment. This forces wearer to clean their glasses all the time. The burden is unbearable. So with the air forced up the eyes there is a temptation to touch your eyes above the eye problems you stand a great danger of infecting yourself.

Further more the mask causes a decrease in your immune system  low oxygen levels in the tissues (hypoxia) can suppress some aspects of the immune response. Fairly, it can also induce and accentuate other important functions of the immune cells. Scientific investigations have proven that a prolonged denial of enough oxygen in your body can cripple the ability of your immune system to tackle infections. It is recommended that during this period where wearing a mask is mandatory, better to take off the mask when you are away from people and or maintain a distance of up to five meters. Older and younger people wearing a mask are said to be more vulnerable but any person can suffer these side effects. Face masks can cause a serious skin rash.

It is said that masks, depending on the materials used, may cause allergies, itchiness, and redness on the skin. Over time, custom cloth masks eventually accumulate sweat, makeup and beauty products, automotive exhaust, pollen, and any particles floating in the air. All these would sip through your mouth the number of diseases it causes can never be imagined.

Inappropriate use of face mask: people must not touch their masks, must change their single-use masks frequently or wash them regularly, dispose them correctly and adopt other management measures, otherwise their risks and those of others may increase.

The quality and the volume of speech between two people wearing masks is considerably compromised and they may unconsciously come closer. While one may be trained to counteract side effect this side effect may be more difficult to tackle.

While impeding person-to-person transmission is key to limiting the outbreak, so far little importance has been given to the events taking place after a transmission has happened, when innate immunity plays a crucial role. The main purpose of the innate immune response is to immediately prevent the spread and movement of foreign pathogens throughout the body.The innate immunity's efficacy is highly dependent on the viral load. If face masks determine a humid habitat where the SARS-CoV-2 can remain active due to the water vapour continuously provided by breathing and captured by the mask fabric, they determine an increase in viral load and therefore they can cause a defeat of the innate immunity and an increase in infections. our face mask is working double duty to protect everyone: It keeps you from spreading your germs and can stop other germs from getting into you. However, if used thoughtlessly, the masks can also cause unwanted side effects.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Get latest news by email: