Mask and oxygen: does it decrease and increases carbon dioxide?

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A feeling of shortness of breath or suffocation when wearing a mask can cause fear of lack of oxygenation. But experts want to reassure themselves against this danger, which is easy to prevent.

The mask is fast becoming a "classic" in our wardrobe. But if its usefulness in limiting the spread of viruses is no longer in doubt, some people are concerned about a possible reduction in the oxygen supply it can cause, and the increase in carbon dioxide consumption. They say they notice a feeling of weakness, suffocation, or dizziness.

Is it possible that wearing a mask can make a person accumulate so much carbon dioxide and so little oxygen that they pass out? The US Health Site USA Remember that inhaling high levels of carbon dioxide can be fatal.

The correct level of carbon dioxide

The toxicity of this gas that we emit when we exhale can cause headaches, dizziness, impaired vision and concentration, tinnitus, seizures and even suffocation. But its concentration in the air must be very high, on the order of at least 10%.

Lack of carbon dioxide can also wreak havoc on the body. Its role is, among other things, to regulate the pH of the blood. If its concentration is too high, the blood becomes acidic, and if it is too low, it becomes basic. In either case, the person passes out.

Different types of mask

Regarding the mask, its ability to influence our consumption of carbon dioxide depends largely on its composition and its tightness. It is almost impossible to pass out due to oxygen starvation with a tissue mask or surgical mask, because they do not fit the face perfectly. When you inhale and exhale, air can circulate through the "pores" of the fabric. This is the reason why this type of mask does not protect against inhalation of the virus, but protects external people from the drops that can be emitted.

On the other hand, N95 and FFP2 anti-particle masks, equipped with a filtering device, could pose some additional problems. According to experts interviewed by Health, wearing this type of mask for a long period of time can cause breathing difficulties in predisposed people, such as smokers, obese people and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema.

Consider other causes

For these people, it is recommended to consider the use of other types of masks. But long-term use of a mask, including a filter, has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity in healthy people. On the other hand, the general public does not need to wear a filter mask, which has been designed for healthcare professionals.

Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth, but is not too tight to avoid breathing. If you have the impression that your airways are having trouble working, consider other possible causes, such as a panic attack, which can lead to sudden feelings of suffocation and shortness of breath.

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