With the rise of wearing face masks during the pandemic and in the aftermath, do you know the effects of wearing a surgical mask? Could it cause any harm?
In response to disinformation about the safety of surgical masking during the pandemic, Brooks developed a clinical trial alongside Dr. Jill Layman, associate professor in the School of Anesthesia and Jessica Willis, coordinator of the RStats Institute.
The study, titled Physiologic effects of surgical masking in children versus adults, was recently published in the Global Health section of PeerJ Life and Environment, an open access and peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Putting a stop to disinformation
One common misconception about the effects of masking is unsafe levels of CO2 buildup. However, Brooks and his team found that CO2 levels, oxygen saturation and vital signs all remained well within the normal range after the subjects donned surgical masks.
The research team made sure to recruit as many people as possible for the study. A total of 119 people – 71 adults and 49 children – participated in the study.
Brooks, who’s also a physician and surgeon, wants to ensure people know the truth about masking and that the supposed dangers are only a myth.
“After all, surgical masks have been worn for over 100 years without any physiologic side effects,” Brooks said.
He hopes the results of this well-researched study will help to convince any skeptics.
“We completed the largest and most complete study assessing the physiologic safety of surgical masking,” Brooks said. “This is also the only study to compare adults’ and children’s physiologic responses to masking.”
This is important because there are a few key differences between the two:
- Breathing rates: Children generally have higher respiratory rates than adults, which means they may breathe more rapidly.
- Lung capacity: Children’s lung capacities are smaller than those of adults.
- Facial proportions: Children’s faces are different from adults in terms of size and shape.