Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE govt spokesman busts myths about face mask use

Staff Reporter/Dubai
Filed on December 8, 2020


Wearing it for long periods does not cause a decrease in the percentage of oxygen inside the body, the official said.

A top UAE government official has busted myths related to mask use, stressing that wearing it for long periods does not affect normal breathing.

“Wearing a mask for a long time does not cause a decrease in the percentage of oxygen inside the body, nor does it cause a toxic accumulation of carbon dioxide gas as long as the mask is properly used,” said Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the spokesperson for the UAE Government, during a virtual briefing on Tuesday.

He said a study monitoring oxygen level in the blood of those suffering from respiratory problems revealed that “wearing masks does not affect the levels of oxygen or carbon dioxide during long periods of rest and short walks”.

“We emphasise that wearing a mask protects those suffering from chronic lung diseases from infections that may impact their respiratory system,” said Dr Al Hammadi.

When masks shouldn’t be worn

He, however, stressed that a person should not wear a mask while suffering from acute shortness of breath for any reason.

The official also noted that wearing a mask during exercise, especially high-intensity workouts, may affect a person’s ability to breathe normally. It “may cause difficulty breathing with the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas inside the mask”.

“Exercising increases rates of sweating, which makes the mask moist, and humidity may provide a fertile environment for germs to grow,” said the official.

Covid impact on pregnant women

Dr Al Hammadi clarified that pregnant women are “not within the most vulnerable groups to develop complications according to the available data and studies”.

“Covid-19 does not pose a threat to them, their foetus or newborn child,” he said. “We advise pregnant women to exercise caution, follow precautionary measures and take vitamins and supplements according to the instructions of doctors. They should eat a balanced diet that boosts their immunity while continuing physical exercise.”

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