Wearing face masks is one of the safety measures provided by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) but meanwhile health experts has opinions on its side effects if misused.
The mask protects individuals from an infection, and all foreign bodies that travel through air such as viruses like; COVID-19, bacteria or dust.
Wearing a face mask for a long period of time is an alien behavior to the body. A mask burdens breathing and forces a person to inhale little oxygen than normal and also take back in some carbon dioxide.
The government has made it mandatory to wear a face mask in public as a health intervention to curtail the spread of corona virus.
However, as it is widely debate globally by experts, 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.
These are the side effects attached to wearing a face mask longer periods:
Difficult in breathing
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.
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, Doctors This 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.
Decreased immune system
There are studies indicating that 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.
Skin rashes, allergies
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.
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