WHO mask

Masks Cause Headaches, Itching, and Lower Oxygen Intake: Study

A systematic review of 2,168 studies that looked into the adverse effects of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that the practice led to negative health consequences, including itching, headaches, and restriction of oxygen.

“We found significant effects in both medical surgical and N95 masks, with a greater impact of the second,” states the review, published in the “Frontiers in Public Health” on April 5. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that headache was the “most frequent symptom” among mask wearers, with a prevalence of 62 percent for general mask use and up to 70 percent when using N95 masks. Shortness of breath was observed at 33 percent for general mask use and 37 percent among N95 users.

While 17 percent of surgical mask wearers experienced itching, this number was at 51 percent among users of N95. Acne prevalence among mask users was at 38 percent and skin irritation was at 36 percent. Dizziness was found to be prevalent among 5 percent of subjects.

“Masks interfered with O2-uptake and CO2-release and compromised respiratory compensation,” the review states. “Though evaluated wearing durations are shorter than daily/prolonged use, outcomes independently validate mask-induced exhaustion-syndrome (MIES) and down-stream physio-metabolic disfunctions. MIES can have long-term clinical consequences, especially for vulnerable groups.”

The restriction of oxygen uptake and hindrance in carbon-di-oxide release was identified as more significant among users of N95 masks. Continuous rebreathing of carbon dioxide results in the “right-shift of hemoglobin-O2 saturation curve.”

“Since O2 and CO2 homeostasis influences diverse down-stream metabolic processes, corresponding changes toward clinically concerning directions may lead to unfavorable consequences such as transient hypoxemia and hypercarbia, increased breath humidity, and body temperature along with compromised physiological compensations,” the review states.