Doctor shows how wearing a mask does not affect oxygen levels

5 Live

Wearing a mask has become a heated debate across the country. As businesses have started to reopen we have seen many videos go viral of people refusing to wear a mask inside a place where it’s required.

The top complaints for those refusing to wear a mask cite not being able to breathe while wearing a mask or argue they won’t wear one because they are rebreathing their exhaled carbon dioxide.

After seeing posts like this Dr. Megan Hall, a Pediatrician in South Carolina, posted on her Facebook and said, “For those of you who really believe the virus is penetrating the mask and you’re breathing it in, how do you also believe your exhaled CO2 is getting ‘stuck’? Viruses need a vector to spread, COVID-19’s vector is respiratory droplets, those droplets aren’t readily getting through a properly worn mask.”

To prove her point against people complaining that oxygen levels drop while wearing a mask, she conducted an experiment and posted pictures of herself on her Facebook page wearing no mask, and 3 different masks for 5 minutes straight to see how they affected her heart rate and oxygen saturation levels.

She also made note that immediately prior to this experiment she had been wearing a surgical mask for 5 hours.

The first picture of her with no mask shows her oxygen level at 98 percent and heart rate at 64. And the following pictures with the different masks show that her levels remain steady between 98 and 99 percent and her heart rate ranges between 64 and 69.

“There is no significant change in my oxygen saturation or heart rate in any scenario. Though maybe inconvenient for some, you can still breathe,” Hall says on her Facebook page.

For context, normal oxygen levels usually range between 95 to 100 percent, and a normal resting heart rate for adults ranges between 60 to 100 beats a minute, according to the MayoClinic.

Hall continues by saying “As a physician, I urge you and ask you to please wear a mask to protect yourself and those who cannot safely wear a mask like many of my patients who are under 2 years old.”

5 Live is KTLA’s digital-only newscast and streams on KTLA.com and the KTLA 5 News app weekdays at 4 p.m.

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This segment aired on June 24, 2020.

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