As for CO2 retention, I have not seen any evidence for it with any mask type, including N95 masks. It certainly does not apply to cloth masks or any masks that do not provide a tight seal
Masks Save Lives, but They Still Have Some Annoying Side Effects—Here Are the Most Common Ones (and What to Do)
FEBRUARY 28, 2021 – 2:30 PM – 0 COMMENTS
Face masks are important—very important. In fact, they play a crucial role in the spread and prevention of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean mask wearing is without its complications. From obscured vision and generalized discomfort to skin irritations and restricted airflow, constantly wearing cloth masks, disposable masks, N-95 masks, and face shields can cause their own series of problems.
Here are some of the most common complaints and side effects of wearing masks.
Side effects of wearing a mask
Does your mask just keep fogging up your glasses? You’re not alone. “When a mask sits loosely against the face, the exhaled air from one’s mouth blows over the surface of the eye, resulting in an increased risk of foggy lenses and mask-associated dry eyes,” Dr. Margaret Liu, MD, founder of the San Francisco Eye Institute with the Pacific Vision Foundation, tells Parade.
The good news is there are things you can do to improve your vision and minimize said fog. Wearing a tighter mask may help. Altering the position of your glasses can reduce cloudiness, and there are dozens of anti-fog wipes, sprays, and cleansers now on the market. Drops can also help alleviate the discomfort caused by dry eyes.
Masks can be a pain, literally and figuratively, but they don’t have to be. To alleviate generalized irritations and discomfort, make sure your masks are fitted but not too tight. Try different variations, i.e. cloth versus disposable, to find which type works best for you, and avoid materials that are uncomfortable, bothersome, and/or irritating.
Difficulty hearing others
While masks do not impede our hearing—at least not directly—they do dampen the volume of our speech, making it harder to communicate with others. Our mouths are also hidden, which makes it impossible for us to read lips, and this is particularly difficult for members of the hearing loss community. According to The Hearing Review, face coverings pose various acoustic challenges. To overcome this, speak slowly and loudly and supplement with text and/or email communication, when possible.
One of the most common “side effects” of mask-wearing is the development of acne, rashes, and/or other skin irritations. “As a dermatologist, irritation of the skin, acne mechanica, and foggy glasses are just some of the side effects I have seen of wearing the mask,” Dr. Anna H. Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic, tells Parade.com. “Contact dermatitis is also common.”
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to manage these conditions. “Because so many of us need to wear masks, like myself, for work, avoiding these problems is hard.” However, Chacon tells Parade there is help and hope. “One way I manage it is by wearing cotton masks and wearing a new cotton mask daily. It is also important to avoid wearing makeup under the masks, as this contributes to further breakouts [and adding] a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide (mild percentage) to your daily routine is often helpful.”
Bad breath and tooth decay
Dentists are seeing more and more oral issues these days and for good reason. “Mouth breathing leads to a decrease in saliva, which is basically the immune system for the mouth,” Dr. Paul Koshgerian, DMD, a board-certified oral surgeon in San Diego, California, tells Parade. “Certain elements of our saliva clean our teeth and help fight bad bacteria. When that balance is disrupted, it can result in bad breath, cavities, and other periodontal issues.”
The good news is there are things you can do to combat said issues and decay. Breath through your nose, when possible, and brush your teeth two times a day. Drink more water and less caffeine, and try alcohol-free mouthwash, mints, and gum that contains xylitol.
Presented by: Prof. Mario Lacouture, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre As advances in breast cancer therapies have improved survival, novel therapeutics have been introduced for a variety of dermatologic conditions. Not surprisingly, these therapies cause adaptions of skin, hair, and nails. Studies have shown that these effects can significantly affect quality of life and influence the self-image. Chemotherapy-induced alopecia has an emotional impact on breast cancer patients. For most women, facing alopecia is the most traumatic and stressful adverse event. Prof. Mario Lacoutures (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, USA) explained that mild hair loss is as impactful as losing the hair completely . It is, therefore, no surprise that permanent alopecia has been associated with depression and anxiety. Scalp cooling is the most successful therapy in preventing and reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. This technique reduces the scalp’s blood flow, resulting in a decreased uptake of cytotoxic therapy by the hair follicles. It was shown to be an effective and safe strategy. Prof. Lacouture presented his study on the better understanding of dermatologic adverse events , which aimed to provide adequate support to breast cancer patients. Results demonstrated an improvement in 80% of women with endocrine therapy-induced alopecia under topical minoxidin. In addition to minoxidine, Prof. Lacouture’s phase 1 safety study demonstrated that twice daily application of topical calcitriol -a vitamin D analog- was well tolerated and safe, and requires further investigation in phase 2/3 trials .
- Lacouture M. Dermatologic Conditions from Estrogen Inhibition in Breast Cancer Survivors, session F019: Women’s Health Therapeutic Hotline. AAD VMX 2021, 23-25 April.
- Freites-Martinez A et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(6):670-675.