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Mask exposure: Influence on blood gas levels

Wearing a mouth and nose cover can affect well-being, especially in the long term: People who have to wear a mask for several hours at a time for professional reasons report difficult breathing, dry mucous membranes and skin problems, among other things. For people with previous illnesses of the heart or lungs, wearing is often even more difficult - they suffer from shortness of breath to feelings of fear and panic.

No significant difference

Important parameters should therefore provide information: "The use of common face masks for short-term high workloads leads to a measurable but clinically irrelevant change in blood gas values ​​compared to mask-free exposure," writes the Ärzteblatt. In a study, volunteer participants in a hospital were subjected to "work-typical increases in stress" on a bicycle ergometer. They wore different masks such as FFP2, surgical face mask, cloth masks - or no mask. Changing the masks involved a five to ten minute rest period. The vital parameters respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure as well as the blood gas values ​​carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) were observed and documented.

With the various mask types, there were only minor differences with regard to the transcutaneous CO2 partial pressure and the pulse oximetric O2 saturation. There were also only minor differences between exposure with and without a mask. Nevertheless: 14 of the 24 participants still complained of symptoms such as shortness of breath, headache, feeling hot and dizzy. These were most pronounced when wearing the FFP2 mask. These symptoms have been observed especially in less trained people. However, it remains unclear to what extent the symptoms were somatic or psychological.