If Face Masks Don’t Stop Oxygen Flow, Why Are We All So Miserable? COVID News This Week

Researchers reporting in the journal Thorax claim that you get just as much oxygen through your average face mask as you need. Then why are we so miserable? The researchers claim it’s probably not because we are breathing in the carbon dioxide we exhaled.

You mean carbon dioxide is not the cause of every problem on earth?

Instead, it’s likely “discomfort” caused by irritated facial nerves, being hot in the mask or “feelings of claustrophobia.” Sounds great. Oh, the mask’s claustrophobic, all right: hot, itchy and often not so comfortable around the ears. The mask makes it harder to hear other people, makes you feel disconnected and is particularly unpleasant after a burp. In some of us, it makes the nose feel clogged and sets off a bout of lung-drying mouth-breathing. What mask use really does is make you feel like you can’t breathe, can’t communicate and can’t think as well.

Apparently, that’s all in your head. Pick up your smart phone and text, mouth-breathers, like the rest of the world does. And furthermore, say researchers, your fears are not only unfounded, they are not important, given the need to “improve public health.”

There, there, Little Kitty.

The researchers tested how wearing surgical masks affects gas exchange by having 15 healthy physicians and 15 military vets with severely impaired lungs walk fast for 6 minutes on a flat, hard surface. Then, they measured the study participants’ oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and found no major changes. One wonders if they asked the vets if they felt like they had enough air. Oh, wait, that’s not important.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep sucking in mask fabric while hauling groceries up stairs and trying to get the kids’ or grandkids’ attention before they run screaming into the street. Oh, wait, they can’t hear you. You’re wearing a mask.

Another study found that, if you don’t wash up, SARS-CoV-2 can live on your skin for over 9 hours. For ethical reasons, the lab experiments were done on cadaver skin (those guys couldn’t wash up even if they wanted to any more). What killed the virus on skin? Hand sanitizer with 80% alcohol, in 15 seconds.  One wonders what we’ll do in 2021, after the virus mutates beyond the capabilities of the hand sanitizer. Oh, right, we won’t be sick. We’ll all still be social distancing and feeling like we are suffocating (while getting perfectly adequate amounts of oxygen, thank you) in our masks. But we might be doing it from our homeless tents; jobs are still going down the toilet as we wait for the pandemic to end.

A small Australian study published in American Journal of Infection Control found that use of noncontact infrared thermometers (the ones people point at your forehead, like a little gun) isn’t that effective in adults. So much for the door screenings at work and the public library. In 265 adult study participants, infrared thermometers did just as well as temporal artery thermometers (that are rubbed across the forehead) as long as body temperatures were less than 99.5⁰F. However, when a person had a fever, the noncontact thermometers didn’t work as well. So, for the purpose for which they were intended, the noncontacts were no good at all. Put a mask on them; that fixes everything.

In yet another blinding glimpse of the obvious, a Finnish study found that those with sleep apnea were more likely to get severe illness when infected with COVID-19. Hmm, so a condition that stops a person from breathing, screws up their heart rate and blood sugar levels, kills their ability to sleep a full nights’ worth and reduces their oxygen intake also may make them more likely to do poorly with a respiratory illness that hates diabetics and does a number on the heart?

Go figure.

The researchers found that the study participants with obstructive sleep apnea were not more likely to get infected with COVID-19, but when they did get infected, they were 5 times more likely to need to be hospitalized. Those of you with sleep apnea who still have COVID money from Uncle Sam should consider investing in a CPAP to get that extra air, today. And maybe buy another mask. You’ll have plenty of air in that, we’re told.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.

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