A man belted out the loudest, juiciest sneeze you ever heard. Then he did it 3 more times. It wasn’t the sneeze that bothered me but before he did it, he pulled his face mask down. The mask he was wearing to prevent the spread of illness. Now I’m not worried about getting sick.  I take care of my immune system and test it regularly. What bothered me was … it was pointless for this guy to wear a mask. There is no significant evidence it will protect you or others. Especially, if you remove the mask to sneeze. I get it. I wouldn’t want to sneeze in a mask either. Yuck. There is so much misinformation about masks and their effectiveness. That’s why so many ask me, “should I wear a mask?”

From my perspective and experience, there is very little effectiveness to wearing a mask for your health or to prevent the spread of illness in the general public, while doing nothing to support your immune response. Dr. Fauci, The CDC, the Surgeon General, The World Health Organization and so many others had told us in the past that wearing a mask will not help deter the spread of virus. It is every person’s right to choose whether or not to wear a mask. I don’t know why you would, but it is your right.

There have been no studies that show that widespread mask use by the public prevents the spread of viruses. There have been numerous studies that show the use of masks does not reduce the chance of catching a cold, the flu and other respiratory illnesses. (1) (2)

Know Your Masks

The N95 mask is made to protect the person wearing it in contaminated environments but doesn’t filter what the person is breathing out. These masks must be fitted properly with a tight seal to be effective. These will not protect others, which is the reason why many are wearing masks.

So, the general public should not be wearing these masks, which is a good thing because a recent study found 81% of healthcare workers developed headaches from wearing N95 masks. (3) It is not good for your health to wear masks for a long duration.

Surgical masks aren’t going to be very effective either for general wear, especially if you encounter a sneezer.

Here’s what the FDA has to say about surgical masks,

“While a surgical mask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, a face mask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures. Surgical masks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the mask and your face.

Surgical masks are not intended to be used more than once. If your mask is damaged or soiled, or if breathing through the mask becomes difficult, you should remove the face mask, discard it safely, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your mask, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used mask.” (4)

Yes, surgical masks and cloth masks shouldn’t be used over and over. If you are re-wearing your surgical mask or aren’t washing your mask everyday it’s like wearing dirty underwear over and over. You encounter and exhale viruses, bacteria and mold which contaminate your mask. This leaves you even more likely to get sick if you are immune compromised. The masks most people are wearing allow for droplets and aerosols to escape or to enter. Most of the time through the sides of the mask because that’s the easiest way for air to flow.

Masks Don’t Protect Us

We are surrounded by viruses and bacteria and some of those can make us very sick if our immune response isn’t up to the job. Some people get sick all the time and that’s a sign there is something wrong with their immune response. Those individuals are immune compromised and need to be cautious. They also need to get tested to find out what is going on to cause a deficient immune response.

We come at this from a different perspective. One that considers how the immune response is meant to work not how we can change it. A sterile environment will not support a healthy person’s immune response, and neither will wearing a contaminated mask. Those healthy individuals need to be exposed to a virus to build their immunity. Staying inside and wearing masks in public hinders the building of a healthy immune response. A mask keeps you fearful. It might keep you from being active and from getting outside to soak up vitamin D from the sun which are also important for building your immune response. Did you see there is a study that showed that vitamin D deficiency may raise your risk of getting COVID-19? (5) Time to get out, spend time in the sun and ditch the mask.

A mask isn’t just an inconvenience, but it can hinder your health.

You Choose If You Wear a Mask

Should I wear a mask because someone tells me to? If a business tells you to wear a mask, don’t give them your business. Government is in no position to tell healthy citizens what to do. That’s not their role. We need to speak out as these policies are made. When we give them our freedom, they won’t give it back. We should determine for ourselves whether or not to wear a mask.

There is no evidence that the general public wearing masks significantly reduces transmission of a virus. A mask will not support your immune response but will hinder it. If you are worried about getting sick all the time you need to find out what is going on with your immune response. Do you want to give up the right to make decisions for your own body? I don’t and I will continue to support your right to make your decisions on should you wear a mask.

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn

Resources:

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00307.x
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19216002/
  3. https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/head.13811
  4. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-and-face-masks
  5. https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/vitamin-d-deficiency-may-raise-risk-of-getting-covid19