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Face masks: Myths vs. facts

Posted at 7:34 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 10:35:25-04

TULSA, Okla. — We've seen your Facebook comments, and now we're here to bust some myths.

With the City of Tulsa's mask mandate going into effect, several people have questions on whether a face covering is truly beneficial or not.

READ MORE: Mayor Bynum signs mask ordinance for Tulsa into effect

The Chief Medical Officer at Utica Park Clinic tells 2 Works for You there is no medical reason why a person cannot wear a mask.

Dr. Jeff Galles said anxiety or claustrophobia might make it uncomfortable for someone to wear a mask, but there is no physical consequence of wearing one.

Myth: I won't get enough oxygen, or will get an increased amount of carbon dioxide, when I wear a mask.

One Facebook follower, Trevis commented, "I can't wear a mask, can't breathe in one."

Dr. Galles says people can get plenty of air to breathe through masks.

There are a lot of stories out there talking about trouble with getting oxygen or exchanging carbon dioxide, but none of those are valid or have been proven.
Dr. Jeff Galles | Chief Medical Officer at Utica Park Clinic

According to Mayo Clinic, health providers have worn face masks for years with no health problems or reactions. There is no risk of receiving more carbon dioxide or getting less oxygen when wearing a mask.

Myth: If I wear a mask, it won't prevent me from getting coronavirus.

Dr. Galles said the most common myth people say is that masks aren't useful. It has been proven that if all parties wear a mask, the likelihood of spreading the virus is reduced substantially, said Galles.

Face coverings reduce the risk of a person being exposed to coronavirus because the number of respiratory droplets a person puts out into the air when they cough, sneeze or even talk, said Mayo Clinic. Exposure to these droplets is reduced when more people wear masks.

Myth: I don't need to wear a mask when I'm not sick.

According to Mayo Clinic, many people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, so they do not realize they are exposing others who may be more vulnerable to the virus. Wearing a mask protests others from your respiratory droplets. Others wearing a mask protects you and you wearing a mask protects other people.

Dr. Galles also explained the proper way to wear a mask.

“The most important thing about a mask is that it is comfortable when it is comfortable, it also needs to cover your full nose, and underneath your chin," Galles said. "Commonly, we see people wear homemade masks that, the minute they open their mouth, it goes under their nose.”

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