To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, face masks have become a must-have accessory for all of us in society. Whether you’re a carrier of the virus or you think you’re safe, face masks are a simple and easy way to protect one another while we go about our daily routines. Although, many people have witnessed false evidence of or concluded that face masks lower your oxygen levels or increase how much carbon dioxide you’re breathing in. We want to cover these assumptions and provide you some details from the official OSHA website that discuss these issues.
The first thing to note is that the answer to both of the previous assumptions mentioned is no. Face masks have been designed to allow the wearer to breathe safely, while restricting the respiratory droplets that come from our mouths. These respiratory droplets are made up of saliva, mucus, and other bodily materials that can be harmful if the person is infected. In this case, wearing a mask protects others around you from being contaminated.
Even if you have no symptoms of the virus, you should still make it a habit of wearing a mask in case you’re asymptomatic. If you’re asymptomatic, you have the virus, but you won’t show any symptoms of it. Wearing a face mask while also social distancing and washing your hands frequently are good ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
When discussing the second assumption, there is a slightly small amount of carbon dioxide that increases between the face mask and the wearer, but it’s nowhere close to a dangerous level. Although, if you’re worried about breathing in higher carbon levels, you can remove your face mask when you’re alone to let any carbon build up release. Aside from that small amount, most of the carbon that you breathe out goes through the face mask or usually escapes out the sides.
Please keep in mind, depending on where you work will depend on what type of mask is appropriate. Medical/cloth covering masks are not designed or recommended to be worn where potential dangerous chemicals are involved.
If you have more questions about the use of face masks in the workplace, you can check out the official OSHA page. There is also more information about cleaning guidelines, returning to work, testing for COVID-19, and more! As we slowly adapt to the effects of the pandemic and find new solutions to arising problems, we need to help each other and remember to stay informed. We encourage you to continue wearing face masks and social distancing to protect not only yourself, but many others.