Masks are not causing carbon dioxide overload

Doctor hold the antiseptic and masks in his hand

by Bernie English

[email protected]

WEARING masks to protect against the spread of Covid-19 does nothing to increase carbon dioxide in the body – but they can prove a pain in other ways, researchers at University Hospital Limerick have concluded.

They have linked a significant increase in people presenting with acute headaches to the widespread use of masks.

The research was carried out against a background of scaremongering and misinformation on social media, suggesting that masks worn over regular periods induce increased levels of carbon dioxide in the body.

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The study, which is published in the latest edition of the Irish Medical Journal, found patients complaints about severe headaches at UHL almost trebled over a three-month period last year compared to that period in 2019.

In total, 329 patients at UHL complained of severe headaches between June and August 2020, much more than the previous year when 119 people reported this.

The researchers found that these headaches could be explained by several different factors including pressure from tight-fitting masks or ear loops or potential changes in patients’ upper airway conditions.

They also concluded that hypoxemia – where oxygen levels in the blood are lower than normal – was another potential factor, while dehydration could also be a cause of the headaches given they occurred during the months of summer.

Stress brought on the fears raised by the risk of Covid infection could also be a contributory cause, they said.

However, the tests showed that there was no rise detected in the average CO₂ levels in patients between 2019 and 2020.

“We believe this is an important message to help combat damaging misinformation on social media problems,” the research team said.

“There is good evidence that universal mask-wearing can help reduce the transmission of Covid-19 infections,” they concluded.