People with asthma ‘shouldn’t wear face masks’, experts warn
London, May 19, 2020 (AltAfrica)-People with asthma or other respiratory conditions should not wear face coverings, the government and various health experts have warned.
New government advice recommends the public wear face coverings on public transport and in crowded places indoors in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
However, the situation has been named a ‘catch 22’ for those with lung conditions, as using a face mask could make it harder to breathe and risk their health.
In official guidance, the Cabinet Office states: ‘If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.
‘Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.
For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.’ Visit our live blog for the latest updates:
Coronavirus news live This advice has been supported by Asthma UK which agrees that face coverings could make it more difficult to draw air into the lungs.
The charity’s advice states: ‘For some people with asthma, wearing a face covering might not be easy.
It could make it feel harder to breathe. ‘The government has advised that people with respiratory conditions don’t need to wear face coverings, so if you are finding it hard, then don’t wear one.’
Dr Purvi Parikh, an immunology and infectious disease specialist at New York University, has also revealed that the hot summer weather could hinder people with lung conditions, those with skin abnormalities on their face or neck, or children or people with dementia.
Speaking to MailOnline, she said: ‘We’re approaching summer-time so it’s hot outside, and when you’re consistently breathing hot air on top of your own breath that can be quite uncomfortable.
‘It’s uncomfortable to breathe hot air because we’re used to being in a temperate environment. For some asthmatics warm air is a trigger and can cause asthma attacks, so for them it’s unfortunately a perfect storm.’