A CLOSER LOOK: To mask, or not to mask? That’s the question a lot of people have

A Closer Look

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Since April, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended people to wear a cloth face covering to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Recent studies show people who have symptoms, and those who don’t, can spread the virus through close interaction with people, they cough, sneeze, or speak.

“The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators” — CDC

Depending on the type of mask, some people believe it can be hazardous to your health. It’s also important to know about the different types of masks.

One woman who works at a coffee shop is required to wear a mask the entire shift. She (name withheld by request) and her co-workers feel uncomfortable in them. Adding that it seems to create an unfriendly barrier between herself and the customer. “The situation is radically different than just having to put one on to go shopping.” They do wear the masks, but it’s difficult.

Some say a mask makes them feel smothered. On April 23, a man crashed his SUV into a pole in New Jersey. He told police he passed out because he had worn his N95 mask for too long. However, police did say it’s possible another medical reason could have caused him to pass out.

Johns Hopkins Center Infectious Disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalza said what happened to the New Jersey driver may have been a person who had breathing issues — a smoker, obese, emphysema or COPD.

Bottom line: Yes, in rare cases it can be dangerous wearing a mask for long periods of time. But, wearing an N95 mask is different than a cloth face covering.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said based on inhaling high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) can be dangerous. It’s called, “hypercapnia (carbon dioxide toxicity).” Some symptoms include: headache, vertigo and double vision.

The difference is that an N95 mask is a “particulate-filtering face-piece respirator,” that meets the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The “95” refers to the percentage of airborne particles it filters. This type of mask, “N,” is most commonly used in mining, construction, and painting. There are seven types of filtering masks, with the N95 respirator mask the most common, according to the CDC.

(L), surgical mask. (R), N95 respirator mask. Similarities in the masks: tested for fluid resistance, filtration efficiency. Should not be shared or reused. (FDA).

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