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Fact-check: Is wearing a mask for a long period harmful to health?

Claim: Wearing a mask for a long period may reduce the amount of oxygen in the brain which may lead to death.

Verdict: False

CITE spoke to the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Dr Mthabisi Anele Bhebhe who said the immediate symptom for wearing a medical mask for a long time is collapsing. 

“A person cannot wear an N95 mask for more than 30 minutes unless it is worn correctly,” said Dr Bhebhe.

“N95 masks limit oxygen that goes in the mask and a person will be rebreathing their air which results in breathing in and out more carbon dioxide. Hence a majority of the people who wear N95 remove it after some time to let in air.”

He added: “The important thing is having the ability to breathe when wearing a mask and the N95 mask may cause difficulty  if worn for a long period, which will result in an individual collapsing.”

Dr Bhebhe noted that some people do not use medical masks to prevent themselves from Covid-19 as they cannot afford the masks, as a result, they resort to cloth or homemade masks that become potential a courier for Covid-19.

“People use cloth masks and there are higher chances of getting infected when wearing those as one might touch infected surfaces and their face. The cloth mask cannot prevent one from being infected,” he said.

Source: A chain message forwarded on WhatsApp groups claims wearing a mask for a long time may cause various effects such as oxygen in the brain reducing, oxygen in blood cells reducing, weakness as well as death. 

PLEASE TAKE NOTE !!!

Mask is supposed to be used for a limited time. If you wear it for a long time:

1. Oxygen in the blood reduces.

2. Oxygen to the brain reduces.

3. You start feeling weak.

4. May lead to death. 

*ADVICE*

*a.* Pull it off when you are alone. I see a lot of people in their car with AC on still wearing face MASK. Ignorance or illiteracy? 

*b.* Do not use it at home.

*c.* Only use it in a crowded place and when in close contact with one or more persons.

*d.* Reduce the use of it while isolating yourself most times.

 *Stay Safe!!!*

Background

According to the World Health Organisation  (WHO) medical masks should be worn by health workers and individuals showing symptoms of Covid-19. A healthy person can wear a medical mask if they are taking care of an individual infected with Covid-19. 

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