Saturday, July 18, 2020

Masks and oxygen

With all the hysteria over face-masks; those who say masks are starving people of oxygen and those claiming masks can't impede oxygen flow-- and the anger boiling up from both sides-- I decided to do my own experiments.

The argument from the pro-mask cultists is that there is no way the fabric weave of a mask can block the exchange of oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules. They are much too small compared to the weave to be hindered. Which may be true... but I don't believe the flow in and out is instantaneous. This delay does have an effect, which I can feel. The hot, exhaled air lingers long enough to be re-inhaled. Is this a problem?

I bought an oximeter (an over-the-counter unit) right after I was exposed to The Corona. I know wearing a mask causes me to do the face-mask gasp every so often, but is it just due to the heat or due to a lack of oxygen.

I thought I should test this for myself (and for you). So, I did.

Without a face mask, my %SpO2-- oxygen saturation percentage-- runs between 95 and 96 rather regularly. After a few minutes of wearing a mask (an actual face mask and a silk bandana were used separately with the same result), that drops to 93-94. Not a huge difference, but a difference. After a couple of minutes of this I do the face-mask gasp and bring my oxygen back up to maskless levels, but it won't stay there.

Is this really due to the mask? I don't know. Here are some alternative hypotheses...

Maybe I breathe differently while wearing a mask; shallower or less frequent breaths.
Maybe I am too self-conscious of my breathing while wearing a mask.
Maybe the effect is due to the heat build-up.
Maybe this was a fluke and a coincidence that my %SpO2 fell a little just at the time I was wearing the masks.
Maybe my bias skewed the results.
Maybe it was magic, elves, or faeries.
Maybe there's more than one cause.

It seems to me, the claim that masks can't reduce your oxygen levels has been falsified. It's not a big difference, and maybe not enough of a difference to even notice or cause harm. But there was a difference. I now believe all of those saying it can't happen are either lying or are mistaken.

Don't trust me; do your own tests. Listen to your own body.


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