Masks do not cause oxygen deficiency: Oman MoH Doctors

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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A group of doctors at Oman’s Ministry of Health has debunked the fake news circulating across social media and through messaging apps about protective masks causing oxygen deficiency with increased carbon dioxide in the body. 

Dr. Hamed Al Kalbani, a resident doctor in the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Sorbonne University, Paris stated that “Pictures and videos are being circulated on social media, a group of people claim that the masks deprive the body of oxygen and that the person will suffocate with carbon dioxide that he exhales and then breathe it again, but this talk is false and incorrect,” said.

Dr. Kalbani referred to a study conducted by US-based Vanderbilt University Medical Centre which summarized that there was no conclusive proof on prolonged use of masks causing carbon dioxide poisoning or a lack of adequate oxygen in healthy people.

“For some people with severe chronic lung disease, the mask may make breathing more difficult, but not due to carbon dioxide retention. Healthcare workers routinely wear masks for long periods as part of their usual care (such as performing surgery), and no adverse effects have been reported,” the resident physician observed.

Dr. Al Kalbani emphasized that “As the World Health Organization says, the prolonged use of medical masks, when properly worn, does not cause carbon dioxide poisoning, nor a lack of oxygen,”

Ministry of Heath’s Education and Awareness Department Director, Dr. Nawal Al Rashdu clarified that they advise “people to avoid wearing masks while playing sports only because the amount of carbon dioxide is high” adding that wearing masks at other times “is necessary and it does not cause any harm because carbon dioxide is coming out from the sides of the muzzle.”

Briefing on the different types of masks that medical staff and other people use across the globe, Dr. Al Kalbani observed that “Medical (surgical) masks which are made of at least three filter layers of non-woven synthetic material reduce the risk of respiratory droplets being transmitted from the wearer to others and to the surrounding environment, and they also reduce the chances of the virus spreading from others to the person who wear it.”

Dr. Al Kalbani elaborated “The second type is the respirator masks such as (FFP2), (FFP3), (N95), (N99) specially designed for healthcare workers who provide care to COVID-19 patients in facilities and places where aerosol-generating medical procedures are applied. And the third type is fabric masks and they can act as a barrier to prevent the transmission of the virus as the last solution.”