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Physiological and Psychological Impacts of Using Face Masks in the COVID-19 Pandemic

by eBusiness UK Ltd on May 20, 2021

The World Health Organization, shortened as WHO, declared the Novel CoronaVirus a global health pandemic on the 11th of March 2020. At this point, the new infection cases of the virus were on the increase at an alarming rate. Countries were in panic mode including the whole of the UK. Citizens were advised to work from home, save for those who were providing essential services that required their presence. The examples of groups that could go to work included:

  • Providers of healthcare services
  • Clerks at grocery stores
  • People providing essential delivery services

Many people worked from home due to the extended lockdowns. The logic behind this was that it was and it is still important to keep a social and physical distance of at least one meter. It is because this disease spreads through contaminated body fluids and it’s easy for people to contract it when they are in close proximity.

With the severity of the pandemic on the increase across the UK and other parts of the world, it became apparent that citizens should put on face masks whenever in public places. People found it hard to wear these masks given the discomfort they came with. The general perception was that wearing these masks for a long time could be dangerous. Compliance with this directive became a challenge in some areas.

What Are the Specific Face Mask Types Available for Use?

A wide variety of face masks exist at the moment. They have different designs depending on the purpose they serve and the people who wear them. N95 and surgical/medical face masks are worn to protect people from contaminated particles in the air, droplets, and other dangerous fluids from human bodies which may cause Covid-19. They are mostly worn by frontline medical personnel.

The N95 medical face masks are more effective in protecting one against Covid-19 compared to the surgical ones. It is because they allow lesser penetration of filters. They are also more likely to prevent one from spreading the virus to other people as they allow fewer leaks.

Some people, and especially medics prefer to use face shields together with the masks. The shields help in protecting other parts of the human face including the eyes from contaminated droplets from respiration. However, know that it is not appropriate to use a face shield alone in place of a face mask.

Non-medical face masks are manufactured using a mixture of materials including cotton and silk. They are meant to control the spread of contaminated respiratory droplets from one person to another. The droplets are usually released when one is talking, breathing, or coughing.

The Physiological Importance and Impact of Face Masks

Whether one is wearing a medical mask or a cloth mask, their chances of contracting Covid-19 reduce. Moreover, wearing these masks also prevents people from transmitting the virus to other people. You can always use FFP2 face masks in the UK.

Does the respiration process change when one is wearing a face mask? To answer this question, you should know that humans experience two respiration types; external and internal. The internal type takes place in the body when cells absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. External respiration is the uptake of oxygen from the air into the body and the release of carbon dioxide from the body into the air.

According to research, there is no change in the breathing pattern of a person wearing an N95 face mask when they are involved in physical activity of low intensity. Such activities include the light walking that medical professionals are expected to engage in as they carry on with their day-to-day work commitments.

However, in the cases of mild and vigorous physical activities, the rate of inhalation and exhalation increase by 3%. It is because of the exhaled moisture which acts as resistance to breathing. The change in respiration is minimal and doesn’t have a notable influence on the respiratory muscles. The cloth masks, including FFP2 Face masks in the UK, have an even smaller impact as they aren’t as tight-fitting as the medical masks.

Do Face Masks Affect the Oxygen Volume That Reaches the Cells?

It is hemoglobin that carries 98% of the oxygen in the bloodstream. The increased resistance in inhalation and exhalation as a result of wearing a mask doesn’t impact the volume of oxygen that is carried by the hemoglobin. It is the effectiveness of the body in maintaining the oxygen concentration that makes this phenomenon possible. Therefore, you shouldn’t be worried about using FFP2 face masks in the UK.

However, prolonged wearing of the N95 face masks may reduce the oxygen concentration in the blood from 98% to 96%. Besides, the heart rate may also increase from 85 bpm to 90 bpm. In this case, bpm stands for beats per minute. The variations in oxygen saturation are statistically significant but are not important in the clinical sense.

FFP3 Masks in stock

Face Masks and Carbon dioxide Concentration in the Blood

In cases where the concentration of carbon dioxide increases in the blood as a result of wearing a face mask, the body has physiological processes that help to regulate it. For instance, the level of ventilation increases in the lungs which enhances the rate of gaseous exchange.

Prolonged Wearing of Face Masks and Discomfort

When one wears a mask for long, they may report cases of light-headedness, mild headaches, and discomfort when breathing. That mainly happens when one wears a mask for 4 hours or more. The design of the mask also contributes to the discomfort. For instance, one is more likely to experience a headache when wearing a mask with a tight strap. Therefore, you should always assess the FFP3 mask in stock before you purchase it.

Apart from headaches, people experience other forms of discomforts when they wear masks for a long time. They include:

  • The appearance of acne on the face
  • Scarring on the nasal bridge
  • Itching on the face
  • Mild irritation on the face
  • An increase in facial temperature
  • Ear pain

How do you reduce discomfort when wearing face masks? Instead of strapping the mask on your ears, tie them at the back of your head. Additionally, you can adjust the straps in cases where it is possible. Besides, ensure the FFP3 Masks in stock is a good fit before you buy it.

The Psychological Impact of Wearing Face Masks

Humans like doing things out of their free will. You are likely to respond negatively in a case where you are forced to do something. Most people weren’t happy because they felt they were being forced to wear face masks. The final results were several cases of non-compliance.

Wearing face masks was a public health recommendation. Therefore, people felt they weren’t in control of whether to wear them or not. Later, people began wearing masks as a form of conformity and not to control the spread of the virus.

Among males, there is always a tendency to want to appear to be strong. Therefore, wearing masks makes them feel weak. It is for this reason that the compliance rate is always lower among males as lower compared to females.

However, people should know that wearing masks is a practice that may continue for a long time. It is important to adjust to the new normal. Check the FFP3 mask in stock and choose what suits you. Besides, ensure you wear your mask properly.