The novel coronavirus outbreak has led to a dramatic surge in the demand for face masks and people can be seen wearing one at public places to avoid the risk of infection. However, several reports of people collapsing while wearing a face mask have raised concern over its use for long periods.
Recently, a Chinese man’s left lung collapsed after he jogged for about 2.5 miles while wearing a face mask. Doctors reportedly said that the high pressure on his lung due to intense breathing while wearing a face mask punctured the organ and had it shrunk by 90 per cent.
Separately, two 14-year-old boys in Central China suddenly collapsed as they were running on their schools’ running track wearing face masks while taking part in compulsory physical education examination. Both of them were later declared dead in the Dancheng County in Henan Province and the city of Changsha in Hunan Province.
In a rapid response to an article published in a medical journal, an epidemiologist highlighted the potential side effects of wearing face masks. Dr Antonio Lazzarino wrote to the BMJ that most scientific articles and guidelines highlight two potential side effects of wearing surgical face masks in the public, but there are other ones that are worth considering before implementing global public health policy.
Lazzarino said that wearing a face mask makes the exhaled air get into contact with the eyes which creates discomfort and generates an impulse to touch the eyes which can lead to infection. The quality and the volume of speech gets hampered due to the face mask which makes people unconsciously come closer, thus defeating the physical distancing measure.
Doctors have warned that wearing face masks for a longer period could lead to a reduction of oxygen in the blood and brain. According to media reports, they have advised against wearing face masks if physical distancing measures are strictly followed and reduce its use by isolating yourself most of the times.
(Image credit: AP)