After writing last week’s article I started looking up studies to see if wearing a mask is detrimental to our health. What I found was perplexing. Post COVID-19 all the literature said masks are not harmful to wear. However, pre-COVID-9, most of the literature was saying how wearing masks can be detrimental to our health. Strange? The news media keeps telling us that there are no harmful side-effects by wearing a mask for six to eight hours a day, but I found studies that say otherwise.
A 2005 study conducted by the National Taiwan University Hospital found that the use of N-95 masks in healthcare workers had shown them to experience hypoxemia, low levels of oxygen in the blood, and hypercapnia, an elevation in the blood’s carbon dioxide levels.
Stanford University found that wearing a mask can decrease the amount of oxygen we are able to inhale: “but in filtering those particles, the mask also makes it harder to breathe. N-95 masks are estimated to reduce oxygen intake by anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. That’s significant, even for a healthy person. It can cause dizziness and lightheadedness. If you wear a mask long enough, it can damage the lungs. For a patient in respiratory distress, it can even be life threatening.”
In an oxygen deficient environment, breathing rates increase, the heartbeat accelerates, and coordination deficiencies occur more quickly. Even just a momentary loss of coordination could be devastating to a worker if it occurs while the worker is performing a potentially dangerous activity. Infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security stated, “Someone wearing an N-95 mask for a prolonged period of time may have alterations in their blood chemistry that could lead to changes in the level of consciousness if severe.”
So, many experts are coming out against wearing a mask. Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, Professor of Medicine and Public Health at University of California, Los Angeles said, “I don’t think there’s any evidence that wearing a surgical mask has any benefit to protect someone in general from exposure, or from being infected. We usually recommend people who are ill wear surgical masks to prevent transmission [to others]… it may be kind of an awareness tool, but in terms of its direct benefits, there’s no data.”
Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, and Margaret Sietsema, Ph.D., both national experts on respiratory protection and infectious diseases at University of Illinois at Chicago, said, “We do not recommend requiring the general public who do not have symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to routinely wear cloth or surgical masks because there is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
We are so worried about catching the virus by walking down the street or shopping in a grocery store, that we wear a mask and stay six feet apart. But there is little evidence, if none, that shows we can catch this by asymptomatic people. On June 8, Maria Van Herkhove, Ph.D., head of the World Health Organization’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be very rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”
Denis G. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes in his article, “Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy,” that “By making mask-wearing recommendations and policies for the general public, or by expressly condoning the practice, governments have both ignored the scientific evidence and done the opposite of following the precautionary principle….Furthermore, individuals should know that there is no known benefit arising from wearing a mask in a viral respiratory illness epidemic, and that scientific studies have shown that any benefit must be residually small, compared to other and determinative factors.”
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.