Can You Get CO2 Poisoning by Wearing Face Masks?

Health care experts recommend that masks are worn by people every time they step outside their home to avoid catching the ongoing viral infection. However, many are wondering, “Can you get Co2 poisoning by using a face mask?” This question surfaced when rumors abound about people being at risk of Co2 poisoning with prolonged use of this protective gear. There have been reports of people passing out or getting into accidents on the road for wearing a face-covering for hours. This is one of the reasons why many are not too eager to follow this directive from health officials.

However, medical officials have already stated that there is nothing to worry about when using any type of face mask because the risk of hypercapnia, or retaining Co2, is minimal. This includes wearing cloth masks, medical masks, even the recommended N95. This is due to the fact that the Co2 molecules can easily pass through the masks thus making breathing easy.

More on N95 Masks

According to the CDC, the public should wear a face mask as part of their protection against the coronavirus. The cloth coverings they are recommending may not be as efficient compared to the N95 breathing mask, but the reason why this institution is recommending this is to reserve the stronger face masks to those who are serving in the front lines who need them the most.

Experts are saying that inhaling Co2 from the masks worn should not be a major concern to the public. As a matter of fact, the public should look at those who are working in the hospitals who have to wear these protective face coverings throughout their shift. They haven’t been harmed with the amount of Co2 they have been breathing in.

They further stated that the amount of carbon dioxide being inhaled because of the mask worn is easily dispersed in the body through the metabolic as well as respiratory systems. Doctors are more concerned about contracting the viral infection rather than the Co2 being inhaled again.

Who Should be Worried?

However, prolonged wearing of face masks may not be recommended to those who have breathing problems or have issues with their respiratory system. This is because they need more oxygen which can be hindered by the mask, thus posing a problem to them. People who have breathing issues should discuss this with their doctor if there are alternatives or tips to wearing a mask when they go outside in their condition.

Those who have been diagnosed with lung problems can have difficulties getting oxygen into their system, thus making them more sensitive to carbon dioxide. However, the high amounts of Co2 actually boost a person’s breathing which can help get rid of the buildup of Co2. Further emphasis is placed on those who have severe respiratory issues that they need to consult with their attending doctor prior to wearing any form of a mask. If their respiratory system is already compromised, leaving the house may not be recommended since they are at high risk of getting infected.

What is the Proper Way of Wearing a Mask?

Regardless of what type of mask you are wearing, a cloth-based one or oxygen face mask, the correct way of using it is that it should cover your mouth as well as your nose. The protective gear should remain flush against the skin in order to prevent any aerosols or even droplets coming from you to transfer to people or surfaces. It is understandable that there is a growing concern about Co2 poisoning when the nose and mouth are covered, but this is not something to stress about because the experts have already spoken that there is minimal risk to this happening. That is unless that person has a poor respiratory system.

CO2 Poisoning While Wearing A Mask

The question, “Can you get Co2 poisoning while wearing a mask?” has been cropping up lately because of the ongoing spread of false news regarding the use of masks in public. In the United States alone, a lot of people skip wearing any protective covering because they believe that it doesn’t have anything to do with the ongoing pandemic. Many argue that why they should wear one when they have already been doing physical distancing. Some believe that there is no virus and that this was simply a form of restriction. Others vented on social media platforms claiming that wearing masks means breathing in large amounts of Co2 which is dangerous. However, many health experts have already debunked this claim.

Another example of fake news regarding face mask and Co2 poisoning is that covering one’s face with any PPE can prevent oxygen from being breathed in. However, the masks that have been recommended by health experts make use of breathable materials that, when worn correctly, will not inhibit one’s breathing. If a person lacks oxygen, then they are at risk of hypoxia.

Both the WHO and the CDC have already confirmed that the use of masks for hours will not cause any Co2 poisoning as many people claim, nor will it cause a lack of oxygen too. Respirators and surgical masks have been used by those in the healthcare industry for hours without suffering from any of these claims.

Why Face Masks are Necessary

In these times when the world is facing a health crisis, the use of face masks and other protective gear is advised to minimize one’s exposure to those who carry the virus. Although they may not fully protect a person from the virus itself, what the face mask does, along with distancing from others, may reduce one’s risk.

Since the world is still struggling to contain the spread of the pandemic, health specialists are trying their best to keep people from getting sick. With hospitals full of infected patients, slowing down the coronavirus may give them time to address those who are in immediate need of medical attention. This simple method of keeping everyone safe is a big enough help to those who are in the front line who are fighting for the safety of everyone.