If you have asthma, you probably have questions about the use of facemasks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
You may be wondering if wearing a mask will make your asthma worse. You may want to know if asthma puts you at greater risk of COVID-19 complications, and what type of mask you should use for optimal protection.
It may come as a surprise that wearing a mask actually can be beneficial for your asthma. Mask-wearing can help protect you from cold weather, environmental pollutants, allergens, and respiratory infections, all of which are
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines have changed in terms of mask recommendations. As of publication,
Recommendations are based on case numbers, hospital capacity rates and the number of hospitalized patients. If you live in an area with a high community level, you may be recommended a mask.
In terms of mask-wearing for people with asthma, the
Both the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) have also lent support to the idea that people with asthma can safely wear facemasks.
The AAFA has stated that in people with well-controlled asthma, wearing a facemask shouldn’t be a safety issue. But people with asthma should take care to manage their condition and take their prescribed medications.
The AAAAI published a 2012 study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that found that oxygen levels didn’t decrease among asthma patients who wore masks. This was the case regardless of the duration of mask-wearing or the type of mask worn.
Are people with asthma at higher risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19?
A 2022 study published in Thorax found that children and adults with mild, well-controlled asthma generally don’t experience more severe cases of COVID-19 and aren’t more likely to be hospitalized or die.
However, according to
There are a variety of sources that can cause asthma. Many people with asthma have found that using a facemask has reduced their symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the most common asthma symptoms can be reduced by wearing a mask.
- Respiratory Viruses like colds and flus.
- indoor allergens like pet dander, mold, and dust mites
- outdoor allergens like pollen and mold spores
- poor quality air or environmental air pollutants
- cold air
If you are looking to protect yourself from respiratory viruses, wearing a facemask can be a good idea.
The AAFA recommends that people who are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications, including people with asthma, consider wearing a high filtration mask, such as an N95 or KN95 mask.
Whatever N95 or KN95 mask you use, it’s important not to use a mask with exhalation valves, as they can allow droplets of the virus to get airborne.
It is recommended that the mask fit you snug and that it is comfortable so that you will keep it on as needed.
A 2022 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice found that asthma symptoms in children may worsen for the first 6 months after a COVID-19 infection.
On the other hand, other studies have found that asthmatic children didn’t have worse outcomes after a COVID-19 infection than non-asthmatic children.
There are no N95 masks that are made specifically for children. But if you’re looking for a high filtration mask for your child to use, you might consider a KN95 or KF94 mask, as there are certain brands that make these masks for children.
The AAFA recommends that children who wear face masks wear one that fits comfortably and snugly, covering both the nose and mouth and without any gaps between the mask and side of the face or nose. Only children ages 2 and over should wear facemasks.
Some people are surprised to learn that cold air, usually during the winter, can contribute to asthma symptoms for some people.
This is because cold weather can affect the lining of your respiratory tract and trigger episodes of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (bronchial spasming or narrowing).
Experts suggest that wearing a facemask during cold weather can mitigate these risks. This is because facemasks can help warm and humidify the air you breathe.
“There aren’t many cold-weather facemasks designed for people with asthma, but wearing a scarf or a comfortable facemask can help with cold-inducing asthma symptoms. Fleece is a warm material that you may want to use.”
Even if you have asthma, wearing a mask is safe.
What’s more, wearing a mask might protect you from other common asthma triggers, such as allergens, cold air, air pollutants, and other respiratory viruses that trigger asthma.
If you have any questions about asthma or wearing a mask, you should reach out to your doctor.