This is why it's important to wear face masks in public

Posted at 9:25 AM, May 07, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The CDC recommends that most Americans wear a mask when leaving the house to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some state and local governments have even made masks a requirement.

Here's why masks and face coverings are so important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

They're meant to prevent the wearer from unknowingly passing the virus on to someone else. Because a person can spread the coronavirus to others before they exhibit any symptoms, many health officials say it's vital for everyone to wear a mask — even those that feel healthy.

Doctors say masks have no negative impact on the wearer. They say the only drawback is with long term use of an N95 mask, which could cause face sores. However, those masks are reserved for healthcare professionals during the pandemic, so it's unlikely to affect a typical American.

A very small amount of CO2 is recycled while wearing a mask, but for most people it's not enough to impact a person's health. Doctors say the only drawback is for a small group of people.

"For those that have COPD — Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as emphysema — who very much live on the edge with a high CO2 level all the time and a low oxygen level, that might have a very small effect in that situation," said Dr. Doug Nelson, an internal medicine specialist. "They might feel subjectively more short of breath. But, for the vast majority of people who don't have a chronic lung disease, no effect."

This story was originally published by Kasey Freeman on WTVF in Nashville.