A doctor put masks to the test, recording himself and monitoring his blood oxygen level — as he layered on six masks.
As mask-wearing suggestions and mandateshave become commonplaceto stop the spread ofthe coronavirus, a medical myth has spread that sporting a mask stops oxygen from getting into the bloodstream, possibly causing brain damage.
“Getting asked ‘Does wearing a face mask lower your oxygen levels’ repeatedly by patients today!” Dr. Maitiu O Tuathail of Dublin, Ireland,posted on Twitterlast week. “I managed to get six face masks on + it had no effect on my oxygen levels!”
In the clip, O Tuathail layers on masks as his oxygen level and pulse are monitored. His oxygen level remains at 99 percent, despite the layers of face coverings.
“That’s consistent whether you wear six masks for one minute or for the entire day. The level of oxygen in your blood won’t change,” O Tuathailtold Insider. “Because oxygen molecules are so tiny, they can permeate through whatever it is you put on your face, no matter how long you leave it on your face for.”
He added that even for those with medical conditions such as asthma, wearing a mask is still advised. The stance was backed up by Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.
“People with underlying chronic lung disease, such as COPD or asthma, should be able to wear a non-N95 facial covering without it affecting their oxygen or carbon dioxide levels,” Rizzotold ABC News, adding that “masks have no detrimental effects, even in patients with chronic lung disease.”
Wearing a mask has proved to be one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Last week,CDC director Robert Redfield saidthat the virus could be controlled in the US within two months if people diligently wore face masks.
“If we can get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four to six, eight weeks, we can bring this epidemic under control,” Redfield said.
Photo by CTV News screengrab