The Dangers of Long Term Mask Use

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I’ve noticed a new trend lately and likely you have too or, will soon recognize it. People are wearing more than one mask to combat Covid. Here is a quote from CNN.

Layering your face is in — but not as a fashion statement. It may just save a life.

Public health officials are suggesting double masking as a way to increase the level of protection from the coronavirus and its multiple, more contagious variants.

“If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective, and that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, now chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

I had 2 reactions on this. One, I thought this was the latest in a long history of constantly changing information about mask wearing. (Check out this video to see what I mean.) Two, while there is a lot of focus on how the mask could (possibly) keep others from getting sick, what about the long-term effects to the wearer? I don’t hear too much about that. Actually, I hear nothing about that. So, out of curiosity, I looked it up. I came away with more worrying concerns than simply feeling uncomfortable wearing a mask. I discovered that long-term mask wearing endangers the health of the wearer and indeed, may be life threatening. This is not an exaggeration! Check out the stories below.

Wearing a mask long-term breeds bacteria under your mask.

Doctor Patrick Grant, a microbiologist working at FAU says you should wear a mask but make sure to wash it often as fungus and bacteria can accumulate quickly.

“Masks are really the most effective measure we have right now in preventing the transmission of the coronavirus,” said Grant. “So we need to be conscious of what we do with them.”

Video taken from under a microscope at FAU shows a wide range of micro-organisms including bacteria, yeast, and fungus.    

Grant said, “It’s very common that we will eat and then put our mask back on and if we are sweating a little we are creating a really nice soup for this bacteria.”   

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 Wearing a mask long-term can cause “maskne”

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have to wear a face mask when going out to lessen the chances of getting infected by COVID-19. At some point, you may have noticed some acne breakouts around your face caused by a sweaty, sticky feeling you get after wearing one. That feeling breeds pore-clogging, breakout-causing oil and bacteria. This effect, it turns out, is what is increasingly referred to as “maskne.”

Maskne, also known by the scientific term “acne mechanica,” is a type of acne that is caused by friction or pressure on skin as a result of wearing heavy clothing or protective gear — in this case a face mask, either disposable or cloth-based.

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Wearing masks long term can give you mask mouth

In light of national and global mandates to wear masks indoors, dentists have discovered that patients returning for check-ups are experiencing a 50% increase in both gum disease and tooth decay.

Dentists have termed the condition “mask mouth” after the notorious “meth mouth” that tends to plague methamphetamine users. It is even affecting those who have never had issues before and is believed to be caused by a buildup of bacteria in a dry environment rich in Co2 and low in oxygen.

“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” says Dr. Rob Raimondi, co-owner of One Manhattan Dental in New York City.

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Long-term Mask Use May Contribute to Advanced Stage Lung Cancer, Study Finds

A recent study in the journal Cancer Discovery found that inhalation of harmful microbes can contribute to advanced stage lung cancer in adults. Long-term use of face masks may help breed these dangerous pathogens.

Microbiologists agree that frequent mask wearing creates a moist environment in which microbes are allowed to grow and proliferate before entering the lungs. Those foreign microbes then travel down the trachea and into two tubes called the bronchi until they reach small air sacks covered in blood vessels called alveoli… According to the study, after invading the lungs these microbes cause an inflammatory response in proteins known as cytokine IL-17.

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Long term mask use could lead to hypoxia which could lead to death

They found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia). It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.

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One bright side to long term mark wearing

How will protective face masks worn during a pandemic impact these fundamental psychological processes of person perception? A recent study entitled, “Face perception loves a challenge: Less information sparks more attraction,” found that hiding half the face significantly increased its attractiveness to observers. The authors from the University of Lethbridge, Canada, found that removing visual information by blurring the face produced a similar effect. Does this explain why women throughout history deployed maneuvers such as hair falling across the face, or veils partially concealing their countenance?

The authors, Javid Sadr and Lauren Krowicki, calculate that their effect is so mathematically robust that they can confidently declare that “50% less face” produces “40% more attractiveness.” Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, who knows a thing or two about feminine beauty, always wears trademark super-sized dark sunglasses, obscuring half her face.

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That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. More tomorrow.