Masks Don't Affect Oxygen Saturation in People With Asthma
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Wearing a mask to protect against transmission of COVID-19 does not decrease oxygen saturation, according to a new study. Oxygen saturation did not decline in more than 200 mask-wearing individuals attending asthma and allergy clinic, regardless of the type of mask they were wearing and how long they had been wearing the mask.

The study collected 223 surveys from adult and pediatric patients. The patients were asked whether they had a diagnosis of asthma, their degree of perceived control if they did have asthma, the type of mask they were wearing, and how long they had been wearing it. Investigators obtained resting pulse oximetry readings to measure oxygen saturation (SpO2) from all study participants.

Forty percent of the participants were male, 46% reported having asthma, and 27% were age 19 years or younger. Overall, the mean SpO2 was 98% in both asthma and nonasthma groups. The study also looked at SpO2 with 3 different types of masks: fabric, surgical, and N95. The mean SpO2 for a fabric mask was 98%, for a surgical mask it was also 98%, and for the N95 mask, it was 99%.

Similar results were found with a duration of mask use, with the mean SpO2 98% in those wearing a mask for 1 hour or less and 99% in those wearing a mask for 1 hour or longer. People with asthma who reported they were well controlled showed similar mean SpO2 levels (98%) compared with those who reported they were not well controlled (96.5%).

No effect on oxygen saturation was noted in any patients, whether they had asthma or not, whether it was well controlled or not, and this was also true regardless of what masks they wore and how long they wore the masks for. So our data reinforce that wearing a mask, whether it be a surgical mask, cloth mask, or N95, is completely safe.

Source: https://aaaai.planion.com/Web.User/SearchSessions?ACCOUNT=AAAAI&C

2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting: Abstract #L18
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