The Face Mask Rumor You Need to Stop Believing

Face masks have become a controversial topic amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here's the myth you need to avoid.

Face masks have become a controversial point of conversation amid the coronavirus pandemic. And with so much information floating around out there and multiple viewpoints, it can be hard to suss out the fact from the fiction. On Twitter and Facebook, for example, there have been numerous posts being shared that claim there are health dangers of inhaling carbon dioxide from wearing a mask. The misinformation became so widespread that the experts at the Cleveland Clinic weighed in.

There's been some speculation on social media that wearing a mask can cause you to rebreathe the carbon dioxide you exhale and make you sick. While inhaling high levels of carbon dioxide is dangerous, this is very unlikely to happen from wearing a cloth face mask—especially if you're only wearing it for short periods of time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a mask to protect those around you remains the smartest, safest, and most responsible thing to do amid the coronavirus.

Even internet fact-checker Snopes addressed this face mask myth, by noting that yes, it is true that breathing in excessive carbon dioxide is dangerous for the body and that "some people with preexisting respiratory illnesses may face health issues only with prolonged use of tight-fitting masks, such as respirators." But they were quick to add that the social media posts were "false." "People wearing cloth or surgical masks are in little to no danger of breathing in unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide," Snopes said.

Cleveland Clinic also made clear that there are some people who shouldn't wear cloth masks, including kids under the age of two, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone can't take the mask off without assistance. And for more mask myths you need to debunk right now, check out 10 Myths About Face Masks You Need to Know.


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