How safe are masks?
September 16 2020 11:40 PM
Reem Abdulrahman  Jassim al-Muftah
Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah

By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah

As we all assumed, Covid-19 wave two is happening and is finally here. Did you continue to practice the safety precautions when the country started to re-open or did you go back to the old ways pre-pandemic? Personally, I continued to be precautious rather than directly revert to old ways as I urged you all to do in one of my recent articles. To tell you the truth, I really dislike the face masks and am really unable to be strict with wearing them; that’s why I rarely go out and if I do, I try to get back home as fast as possible. You guys know how much I love working out, but I still choose to not wear the mask when I am outside, but of course I practice social distancing and stay far from others as much as I can. If you’re active, did you notice the lack of oxygen and increased sweating? I tried it once and will never do it again, but guess what, it seems my body was trying to tell me something and now I understand what that was.
Recent studies have revealed that wearing face masks can negatively effect the mind and body. How? Masks reduce the amount of oxygen intake and lead to it not being delivered efficiently throughout your body and naturally to the brain as well. They even saw that these effects continue after removing the mask as the body becomes used to that kind of state. In more detail, masks can cause you to inhale and exhale more rapidly possibly leading to hyperventilation. This effects the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide and causes you to use your chest and neck muscles more rather than your diaphragm and makes it more difficult for your body to relax. If you haven’t already and hope you don’t, but headaches, dizziness, confusion, numbness or tingling in hands and feet and problems sleeping are very common symptoms from frequent mask-wearing. Therefore, it is clear that all these masks, whatever type, have adverse effects and are not recommended to be worn continuously. This is why I urge you all to reduce your outings, in turn reducing the use of masks and to firmly adopt the following guidelines if you have to go out and wear your mask:
1. Take five long breaths before putting on your mask, after putting it on and when you remove it. For one long breath, breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose and breathe out for 6 seconds through the mouth. Then take a 2 second break in between breaths.
2. Take slower and longer breaths while wearing the mask. Take note of your breathing speed and try to relax.
3. If you are wearing the mask for an extended amount of time, make sure to take breaks around every 30-60 minutes to take it off and to take in five long breaths. 
4. For hygiene purposes: dispose of your disposable masks once used and make sure to frequently wash your reusable masks as masks can cause and increase infections.
5. If you are sick and have been effected by Covid-19 then make sure to stay home and not have to wear your mask as it may potentially worsen your health.
So, in conclusion, please be ware while wearing your mask and to take care of your health by following the discussed protocols above. Most importantly, if you are an active person and want to continue your healthy lifestyle, that’s great, but please make sure to watch your breathing and try to refrain from wearing your mask as much as possible (while still practicing social distancing). This means try to workout at home or in the outdoors away from others or simply do not engage in public activities where you must wear a mask. Good luck and happy breathing!

* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.

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