As more jurisdictions mandate the wearing of masks in public, questions have arisen about whether wearing a mask for a long time causes carbon dioxide retention thereby impairing breathing.
Some people have claimed that wearing a mask makes them hyperventilate and feel like they are going to pass out causing panic among the public.
Experts say that mask does not pose risk to healthy people.
In an interview with the chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, Dr. Albert Rizzo, stressed that, the drop in oxygen level as a result of wearing a mask is not true. “They feel that the mask is an impediment to getting air in but their oxygen levels are stable. Mask does not cause CO2 retention. For a mask to trap enough exhaled CO2 and for us to breath enough of that CO2 back in to raise our CO2 level, it has to be a pretty tight-fitting mask. With the type of mask we are suggesting that people wear, that’s very unlikely to occur” says Dr. Albert Rizzo.
Carbon dioxide molecules freely diffuse through the mask allowing normal gas exchange while breathing.
some people with pre-existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma and lung disease may face health issues with improper or prolonged use of tight-fitting masks, such as N95 respirators. But healthy people wearing cloth or surgical masks are in little to no danger of breathing in unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide
There is less of a chance of breathing issues with face coverings (either store-bought or homemade) as they are not tight around the face. Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth but isn’t so tight so that you really can’t breathe.