Can perfumes kill brain cells

It is unusual and sometimes uncomfortable to constantly breathe through a mask. But is it also unhealthy or even dangerous? Many people have been asking this question since they have to blow and suck their breath through a piece of tissue for many hours a day. They fear that the masks could lead to respiratory diseases, infections or even insufficient oxygen supply.

The worries have not diminished since the doctor Bodo Schiffmann spread horror news on the subject. "The second child has now died within a short time," he says in a recent video in a harsh and at the same time emotional voice. "This child, too, has no previous illnesses," continued Schiffmann, and "very likely died because it wore this mask." The ENT doctor from Sinsheim, who is leading an increasingly fierce campaign against the corona measures and who speaks of fascists in the government, wants the news "from a medical colleague". He doesn't give any details, just this: "We now have two dead children, how many should there be?"

Reports of alleged deaths from covering are spreading across the internet

By the first child, Schiffmann means a 13-year-old who collapsed in a school bus in the Palatinate in early September and died in the hospital. Rumors quickly spread that the mask was to blame for her death. "First death by mask?" Wrote AfD politician Birgit Malsack-Winkemann on Facebook and demanded: "Stop the madness." An autopsy should clarify what really happened. But the results are a long time coming. On September 11, the Karlsruhe public prosecutor announced that the autopsy could not clearly determine the cause of death, so further examinations would be carried out. This is fueling the rumors.

However, doctors consider the worries to be unfounded. "It is extremely unlikely that a person will develop life-threatening symptoms because they are wearing a mask," says Michael Pfeifer, President of the German Society for Pneumology. "Based on the current state of knowledge, wearing masks is harmless."

Klaus-Dieter Zastrow, head of the Berlin Search Care Hygiene Institute, agrees: "You don't have to be afraid of a lack of oxygen caused by wearing masks, unless you make an airtight mask and tie it tightly behind your head. " Zastrow experienced such a case himself. "A man had used plastic as the middle layer of his mask, then of course you can no longer breathe adequately," said Zastrow. The hygienist points out that doctors around the world wear masks for hours when they are at the operating table, for example. "Doctors are not aware of any health problems because of this," says Zastrow, "and therefore none of them have fallen out of the water."

Those who have certain illnesses find it more difficult to breathe through the fabric

Zastrow has also dealt with the bacterial contamination of masks. His employees asked passers-by on the street for their mouth and nose covers and examined them. There were no harmful pathogens on either the inside or the outside. The scientists found mainly normal skin germs and some environmental bacteria such as those that live on vegetables. For Zastrow it is clear: "The mouth and nose protection is absolutely no health risk."

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However, caution is advised for special groups - for example small children. "Children up to the age of three should not wear a mask unsupervised," recommends Reinhard Berner, Head of Pediatrics at the Dresden University Hospital. Also, no child, regardless of age, should sleep with a mask on, so that they do not, unfortunately, strangle themselves with it.

Masks can also be difficult for adult or child patients with lung or heart problems. Anyone who already has restricted lung function will breathe even more difficult with a mask. "The mask puts more strain on the respiratory muscles," says pulmonologist Michael Pfeifer, "it can lead to exhaustion more quickly." Therefore, patients should discuss wearing the mask with their doctor.

Cardiologists from Leipzig University Hospital have shown how strenuous wearing a mask can be. They let healthy people with and without a mask pedal on a bicycle ergometer. Their performance was "significantly reduced" by both simple surgical masks and denser FFP2 masks, as Ulrich Laufs, the head of Leipzig's cardiology department, says. "The masks impair breathing, especially the volume and the highest possible speed of the air when you exhale," says Laufs. This reduced the maximum possible force on the ergometer. In addition, the blood acidified faster with exertion.

"The question arises as to whether people who do physically strenuous work with a mask should take more breaks," says Laufs. But he also emphasizes that the masks do not pose a threat. And he doesn't want to question the mask requirement either. "The mouth and nose protection is valuable in any case to prevent the coronavirus from spreading."