Medical Update on Masks
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“I felt short of breath.”
“I can’t breathe properly.”
“I find wearing it for long periods of time uncomfortable.”
“I feel I am almost suffocating while wearing a mask.”
Also, it’s very common for parents of students to ask for a medical report of exemption from wearing a mask at school. These are the kinds of comments the BHS medical team has been hearing from students/parents in regards to wearing a face mask.
Most of us aren’t used to wearing a face mask and the sensation of having a mask on the face might make someone anxious or uncomfortable or feel short of breath (click HERE to read about mask anxiety.)
Wearing a mask can still affect the breathing, just not in the way some might think. Educating our community on why they need to wear a face mask will help mitigate fears about the health risks of mask use and improve their confidence for more widespread acceptance and use.
So where are these comments coming from, and what can students/parents/staff do to relieve their discomfort? (click HERE to read about the importance of wearing a mask)
The medical team agree that wearing a mask is as important as ever because of the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread through respiratory droplets via a cough or sneeze when viral particles spread long distances through the air. In any instances, face masks prevent the virus from entering into the nose and lungs and can prevent transmission or prevent severe infections if a student does get sick. But despite being potentially life-saving, masks have been hard for some students/parents to accept discomfort, the leading reason why some choose not to wear a mask in school. Other students/parents understand the importance of wearing a mask to reduce transmission of upper respiratory diseases.
Doctors and nurses have been wearing masks for decades without anything negative happening to them. Students need to be taught to wear a mask for long periods, including students who wear glasses (click HERE to read about wearing glasses with mask).
We recommend building up tolerance, if mask wearing is uncomfortable, children and adults can normalise it by wearing a mask during a distracting activity, such as watching TV or playing video games. Soon enough, breathing with a mask is a skill that takes practice then it will become second nature. It’s very similar to when you learn how to wear eyeglasses or use contacts. The more you practice, the more you get used to it. Same goes with masks.
Also remember the benefits of wearing a mask, COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the discomfort you may feel having your mouth and nose covered.
Just Breathe and Stay safe!