Wearing A Mask Does Not Cause Carbon Dioxide Toxicity

May 13, 2020

The Internet is at it again!  There is an image being shared on social media states that continual or prolonged use of face masks results in breathing too much of one’s own exhaled carbon dioxide, which can lead to carbon dioxide toxicity. The image states symptoms of dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, feeling disoriented, flushing of the skin, and shortness of breath.  However this is totally untrue and classic disinformation. Masks are designed to stop droplets but still allow air flow in and out, including carbon dioxide. Masks can feel stuffy because your own respiratory droplets make the air around your face feel moist, but you’re not slowly poisoning yourself. Meanwhile, the people who are sharing memes about hypercapnia and masks are often the same people who were arguing against masks for some different reason a few weeks ago. It’s important to ask yourself whether somebody is sharing information because it’s something that they want to believe. That said, there are some cases where people may be unable to safely wear masks. According to the CDC, these include people who already have breathing problems, and children under two years old. If you have anxiety, the feeling of wearing a mask may feel uncomfortably similar to feelings you have during a panic attack. But if none of these apply, there’s no reason to believe wearing a mask could be harmful to your health or cognition. It might be annoying, but it’s not poisoning you.

SOURCE: Vitals

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