With the Covid-19 virus plaguing the world for the second year now, rules and requirements set in place by governments and organizations continue staying in place including the requirement to wear a face mask in public.
The virus fundamentally alters normal human breathing by clogging the lungs with mucus and effectively depriving the body of one of its most important components: oxygen.
People are now strongly encouraged to or even forced to wear face masks to reduce the spread of and lower the chances of infection. Face masks however do come with their own share of inconveniences, usually manifested in the dreaded mask fatigue.
What is mask fatigue?
When you wear a face mask for extended periods of time, you may start to experience breathlessness and other physical discomforts such as mask acne or headache. This is known as mask fatigue.
Breathlessness due to mask fatigue can be mild and tolerable but other cases used to be more severe with a number of symptoms caused by the ill-fitting mask and carbon dioxide build-up, some of these symptoms include:
– Headache and giddiness, dizziness or feeling lightheaded
– Tingling sensation on the lips and fingertips- Face mask acne, usually a combination of sensitive skin and build up of moisture and temperature from wearing masks for prolonged periods of time.
Causes of Mask Fatigue:
While mask fatigue usually occurs after prolonged use of the mask, it can occur due to several non-exhaustive factors:
– A tight or ill-fitted mask is often one of the causes of increased moisture, temperature, carbon dioxide build up and oxygen deprivation which may result in symptoms described above.
– Interference of mask use with work or other responsibilities can result in mask fatigue.- If the user is suffering from health or respiratory problems or skin sensitivity can easily trigger mask fatigue.
Things you can do to prevent mask fatigue:
Here are some things you can do to reduce and prevent mask fatigue:
- Try on different types and styles of masks until you find the one that fits you most comfortably
- If you are wearing a tight mask, try to take deeper breaths and slow down the breathing rate
- Before leaving the house, check your mask for any snagged wires that may make it uncomfortable after prolonged periods of wearing the mask
- Reduce the amount of time you spend wearing the mask. Find less crowded regions in an open area to catch a mask break in between work and study.
- During non-work days, try to stay at home or be active in nature or participate in sports such as hiking, cycling, and other physical activity which will help to keep your body and immunity strong.
- Individuals suffering from health or respiratory problems should stay home to minimize the need to wear masks while in public and consult their doctor if the uncomfortable situation persists.
- Increasing your oxygen intake can effectively reduce the chances of symptoms caused by mask fatigue. Deep breathing exercises can also relieve anxiety and stress which may be a consequence of mask fatigue.
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