An infectious disease doctor at Nebraska Medicine says myths and misinformation are misguiding too many people when it comes to wearing masks to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The wearing of masks is not harmful,” Dr. Mark Rupp tells 6 News. “Your body is very well attuned and adjusts itself for small shifts in (carbon dioxide) it may encounter in respiration,” noting this includes people with asthma.
“In fact, for some people with asthma it may be beneficial in that it helps to filter out some of the pollen, and dust, and things like that,” Rupp says. He adds the exception is someone who is having an asthma attack. “A well-controlled asthmatic that’s not acutely having an asthma attack, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Rupps tells 6 News.
Another myth is surfacing as parents look to send their kids back to school. “I don’t really buy into that argument that somehow we’re going to be depriving them or psychologically harming them,” Rupp says.
At the Millard Public Schools Board meeting Tuesday night, one mother expressed her fears about mask-wearing.
“You are never going to put this Petri dish on my child’s face,” she told the school board. “And that’s essentially what this mask will do. It will trap all these things against my child’s face.”
Rupp says the solution is to simply wash it. “If a mask becomes saturated or soiled it will become less effective and the cloth masks can be washed to that point,” Rupp says. He recommends having a few masks to cycle through and keep fresh.
Above all else, Rupp says keep everyone’s health and safety top of mind. “Unfortunately this has become a political issue rather than a public health issue. We really need to try and ratchet down the level of rhetoric and focus on the information that is available.”