MASK UP COMFORTABLY WITH OUR BREATHE-EASY GUIDE
We all know face masks help combat the spread of COVID-19 – wearing one reduces the chance of you spreading airborne particles of the virus, or inhaling them yourself.1 By reducing the number of virus particles you inhale, a mask can also reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection if you do happen to catch it.2
But, let’s face it, sometimes masks can be uncomfortable – and not just because they muffle every word. If you have asthma, there’s the added worry that covering your mouth and nose could affect your breathing.
CAN FACE MASKS TRIGGER ASTHMA SYMPTOMS?
While face coverings can feel restrictive, evidence suggests that people with asthma can still wear them. For example, in a recent study, in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, wearing a mask did not affect the level of oxygen in people’s blood, whether they had asthma or not.3
In fact, in some cases, face coverings can actually benefit your airways. If your asthma is triggered by pollen, or pollution, for example, wearing a mask can help reduce symptoms by filtering the air you inhale.4,5
It may also reduce your risk of contracting seasonal flu6 – another win.
With so many benefits, it’s definitely worth wearing a face mask to protect you and your loved ones, even if it feels a little strange at first. The key is to find a mask that works for you.
CAN I BE EXEMPT FROM MASK-WEARING IF I HAVE ASTHMA?
If you have severe asthma, or you feel like you struggle to breathe in a mask, it may help if you speak to your doctor who can advise on the best option for you when it comes to wearing a mask comfortably. There are many mask options to try when looking for something suitable for you - take a look at our top tips below. Please ensure to always follow your country’s guidelines around this, if any.
TIPS FOR FINDING A COMFORTABLE FACE MASK
- Choice of face mask comes down to personal preference, so shop around to find the most comfortable for you.7
- Look for a mask that’s made from a breathable fabric such as cotton, has multiple layers, and covers your mouth and nose snugly without being too tight.8
- Experiment with different mask shapes, for example pleated or conical, to find the right one for you.7
- Start by wearing your mask around the house and on short trips. Hopefully, with time you’ll adjust to the sensation and forget you’re even wearing one.7
- If in doubt, your doctor will be able to advise you on the most suitable choice for you.7
- Also, please ensure to always follow your country’s guidelines around this, if any.
STRIKE BEFORE SYMPTOMS DO
The most important way to reduce asthma symptoms is to take action before they strike, with appropriate treatment.9
Speak to your doctor about the best approach for you, schedule regular follow-up appointments, and don’t forget your mask!
- Peeples L. Nature 2020;586:186–189.
- Gandhi M, et al. J Gen Intern Med 2020;35:3063–3066.
- Freigeh G, et al. J Allergy Clin Immun 2021;147(2):AB240.
- Dror AA, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020;8(10):3590–3593.
- Cherrie JW, et al. Occup Environ Med 2018;75:446–452.
- Milton DK, et al. PLoS Pathog 2013;9(3):e1003205.
- Asthma Canada. Available at: https://asthma.ca/tips-for-wearing-a-mask. Accessed August 2021.
- GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own. Accessed August 2021.
- Woodcock A, et al. Lancet 2017;390:2247–2255.