Feeling claustrophobic from wearing a mask?
Unless you are someone who has worked in a hospital or theatre, wearing a mask is a foreign situation to find yourself in. But here we are, we are even choosing which has the nicer design or fabric. This is not something we would have ever even considered 12 months ago.
So, what can we do to decrease that anxiety?
Firstly, it is important to remember that feeling anxious about having a covering over your nose and mouth is a perfectly natural response. Add to that us having to wear the masks all the time when we are outside our homes. Even when we go out for a walk with the dog. It is inevitable that we will find it challenging.
The first thing that you need to do when feeling this anxiety set in, is acknowledge it. It is normal. There is plenty of peer reviewed research that provides evidence that wearing a mask does not drop your oxygen levels in your blood. The WHO has a link of myths and facts where the following is stated – “The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.” (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?gclid=Cj0KCQjw7ZL6BRCmARIsAH6XFDIB4W7EoZK2EywqOpuFLzyjnygC9DgrJnutEWuQMxXnpMeeBNabmpQaAmcyEALw_wcB#oxygen )
The feeling of not being able to breathe is based on our bodies not having their usual sensory triggers of air flow around our mouth and nose.
If the feeling is too intense a few seconds with your mask off can make you feel better immediately.
Please remember the guidelines on putting on and taking off your mask to prevent contamination and as always wash your hands.
By Mel Rose.