Side Effects of Mask Wearing

Healthcare workers are accustomed to daily use of masks, but the rest of the public has been challenged both medically and mentally by the ongoing enforcement of mask wearing over the course of the past year. Public officials have yet to provide any scientific evidence proving mask wearing is effective in preventing the transmission of disease. Although a mask will prevent the spraying of saliva when speaking, a virus is known to be much smaller than the openings in most materials. 

That question aside, mask wearing has posed many a challenge for the public at large. Some people have contracted rashes from the containment of bacteria in the mask. Others have faced breathing difficulties.

Whether you wear a mask as required by a job or to follow health mandates, an unforeseen side effect is decreased visibility caused by fogginess on glasses. For eyeglass and sunglass wearers, life has been challenging. When air escapes the top of the mask, it enters the lower inside of the glasses, completely obscuring vision.

Glass fogginess tends to occur at the most inconvenient times – when reading, driving or working. The eyeglass wearer must repeatedly remove his or her glasses to wipe them only to have them fog up again a short time later. This problem has led to a trend of more people turning to Lasik surgery to eliminate the need for glasses. What a drastic solution. Using a cloth treated with fog prevention solution is a less costly option.

Masks can also be extremely uncomfortable. When too loose, they fall off the nose and must be adjusted constantly. When too tight, the strings dig into the back of the ears. They also make breathing difficult for some and downright laborious for others.

While enduring all the above inconveniences and problems in the name of health, mask wearing has increased the occurrence of tooth decay. Breathing out of one’s mouth reduces the amount of saliva, causing an increase in bacteria build up on our teeth. Naturally, bad breath is another side effect of keeping one’s mouth covered with a mask at all times.

Ultimately, every sense is dulled in some way – hearing is impaired by the muffled sound of wearing a mask, vision is impaired by glass fogginess, the mask must be removed to smell something and certainly taste is not enjoyed as much when eating out is treated like a forbidden activity.

And many seem to neglect the potential of spreading the virus from discarded masks. They litter our parking lots, streets and oceans and have become every bit as bad as plastic garbage we work so hard to recycle and remove from the water.

We have yet to see if mask wearing has made any difference at all in the spread of the virus.