What People With Asthma Need to Know About Face Masks in 2021

What People With Asthma Need to Know About Face Masks in 2021

In order to fight against coronavirus, face masks have become a significant part of our lives. At the same time, constant use of facemask raises various concerns for asthma patients. To avoid the spread of virus, social distancing also plays a vital role, so why is wearing face masks still important?

Research studies reveal that it is not necessary that coronavirus show symptoms in all the infected people. The use of a face mask is to avoid the transmission of germs from person to person as it serves as a shield between environmental particles and the act of inhaling in individuals. 

Face Masks and Asthma Patients 

It is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to wear an appropriate face mask in public and especially when having contact with other people. Asthma patients may find difficulty in breathing while wearing a face mask as mouth and nose pathways are covered tightly with face masks. Patients having mild asthma can use face masks without experiencing any major issue but patients having severe asthma should wear breathable masks and keep quick-relief inhalers in their pockets all the time. 

In the pandemic situations, asthma patients should take great care of themselves and follow the below mentioned precautionary measures.

  • Keep social distance i.e. 6 feet from others and stay home as much as they can to stay safe.
  • Seek help from healthy persons to shop in place of them. Availing delivery services is the best option.
  • Minimize close contact with other diseased people and sanitize/wash hands more frequently. 
  • Avoid becoming a part of crowds and limit their travelling activities. .
  • Clean and disinfect home as well as household items properly by using FDA approved disinfectants and cleansing products.
  • Avoid walking too fast as it can cause breathing imbalance. 
  • Climate changes can trigger asthma. In the cold season, it is important to wear a scarf or ski mask over your face mask to stay warm. 
  • Similarly, pollen can also activate asthma and increase breathing distress. It is necessary to wear face masks with great care during hot weather or when the pollen is at its peak. Avoid going outside when pollen counts are high.
  • Exercise is also an effective practice for asthma patients but intense exercise can cause issues for them and wearing face masks in such situations can make the situations worse. Avoid situations where you would need a mask such as exercise at home rather than approaching gym.

Appropriate Masks to Wear

Wearing a face mask that is breathable, easy to use and gives maximum protection is crucial.  While purchasing masks, consider the following

  • Fabric masks having multiple layers 
  • Masks that fit properly and cover the sides of face without leaving vacant spaces
  • Masks that protect your nose and mouth from germs
  • Masks having a metal strip or nose guard to keep air from leaking out

The WHO suggests to wear face masks that contains three layers:

  • An outer layer which is water-resistant (such as polyester or polyester blend)
  • A middle layer which is made of non-woven fabric (such as polypropylene)
  • An inner layer which is made of cotton stuff.

In order to figure out an effective face mask, put your mask up to a light. If the light is seen through a face mask, it may not be effective in providing essential protection. Ensure that the face mask hinders the rays of light, allowing an individual to breathe through it in a comfortable manner. 

Take into consideration the following steps while wearing and removing a face mask:

  1. Properly wash hands or use hand sanitizer before touching a face mask.
  2. Avoid touching the face mask repeatedly after wearing it.
  3. If the face mask gets dirty and is worn for a long time, use another clean and new mask in place of the previous one.
  4. Get off the face mask by the ear loops, do not touch the parts of the mask that are in contact with the face.
  5. In case of fabric and reusable face masks, wash them in hot, soapy water after use.  Discard the used disposable masks.

Conclusion

Asthma patients should follow the above mentioned practices in order to prevent coronavirus and breathing distress. It is preferable that they should avoid situations (crowds) where face masks are must as they may experience breathing in such scenarios, instead they should stay at home as much as possible. Wearing a face mask is not the feasible solution for asthma patients to ensure 100% protection against coronavirus so it is necessary to take into account all other precautionary guidelines as well to stay safe and sound.