DEAR Dr. Fritz,
Greetings to you. Call me Jumbo. I have just one concern with the use of face masks which is mandatory these days. I feel deprived of air whenever I use them. This is why I am asking if face masks will limit the oxygen flow. Could this not affect the oxygen level when we are rebreathing carbon dioxide?
Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.
Jumbo of Skyline
Dear Jumbo of Skyline,
I feel you and I fully understand your concern. I feel that too at the start of wearing these face masks. I felt I was out of breath. But, the truth is, the average face mask may really be uncomfortable, but, research has shown that it does not limit oxygen flow to the lungs even to those with severe lung disease. This was based on the study on 15 healthy physicians and 15 military veterans with severely impaired lungs where the effect of wearing surgical masks on the body's gas exchange was tested -- where their body takes in oxygen while carbon dioxide was removed. They were asked to do a quick paced six-minute walk on a flat and hard surface. The results showed that there were no major changes in their gas exchange measurements.
The mask discomfort that we feel could not be due to rebreathing of carbon dioxide and decrease in oxygen level, but, due to the irritation of the sensitive facial nerves, or the induction of claustrophobia.
So, don't be afraid to wear your face mask. Always remember them, and be safe. Good luck!
(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She is the co-host of digital page of Superbalita. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, "Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz.". For your questions, you may e-mail them to email@example.com. If you don't wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)