Fact check: Viral claims that wearing face mask leads to lung infections are FALSE

By Mounika Dasari  Published on  20 Aug 2020 5:35 AM GMT
Fact check: Viral claims that wearing face mask leads to lung infections are FALSE

Hyderabad: A rumor is being spread on Facebook that wearing masks restricts airflow and may result in skin irritations, rashes, acne, lung infection, and loss of consciousness.

To substantiate their claim, Facebook users have posted photographs of people having rashes on their faces

"Look at these skin reactions. Everywhere I go I meet employees of restaurants, salons, and other places telling me they feel sick and are getting these skin reactions from their masks! What do you think is going on with their skin and their body when you see these symptoms? Symptoms show us there is another problem!" reads a message.

Archive of the claim can be found here.

Fact Check:

The claim is FALSE. None of the studies so far claimed that the use of masks leads to lung infections or loss of consciousness.

According to Johns Hopkins' guide: "Some commercial face masks are pre-treated with formaldehyde to disinfect them. If you're allergic to that chemical, those masks could spark a breakout. Also, synthetic fabrics are an issue for some people. Likewise, laundering washable masks with heavily scented detergents or softeners can cause itching, redness, or rashes. Choosing a natural fiber-cloth mask and unscented laundry products can help prevent skin irritation or sensitivity."

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) published its guide for mask users in treating "maskne" or other irritation caused by wearing masks. Their suggestions included removing a mask for 15 minutes if the mask has to be worn for more than four hours on a given day; washing masks after each use to avoid a buildup of oils and skin cells, and avoiding makeup when wearing a mask."

The AAD's guide also includes a statement from the group's president Bruce H. Thiers, MD FADD:

"The American Academy of Dermatology supports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation to wear a cloth face-covering in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A growing body of evidence has shown that masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The AAD encourages people to wear face masks in public, practice social distancing, and frequently wash your hands to help protect yourself, your family, and your community."

Previously people have shared various rumors about face-coverings. One of the widespread rumors was that face masks limit the amount of oxygen getting into the body. People have shared a graphic titled "danger of a face mask" and said this "may lead to death".

Hence, the claim wearing facemasks leads to lung infections is FALSE.

This fact check has been published as part of the Internews Information Saves Lives: Rapid Response Fund project to NewsMeter

Claim Review:Wearing face mask leads to lung infections
Claimed By:social media users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:social media
Claim Fact Check:False
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