Common Myths about Cloth Face Coverings

Myth: I feel great! I don’t need to wear a mask.

Fact: Do you know how it feels to have COVID-19 and not have any symptoms? It feels great! Having COVID-19 and having no symptoms feels the same as feeling “healthy” or “normal.” The difference is, with COVID-19, you feel great and can make other people very sick. The decision to wear a cloth face covering isn’t about how well you might feel — it’s about all of us working together to keep the whole community healthy.

Myth: If you wear a mask for too long your oxygen levels will go down/you’ll breathe too much carbon dioxide.

Fact: Cloth face coverings are by no means air tight. Your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will be fine, though your face covering may feel hard to breathe through. You are most likely getting enough air, but switch to a different face covering if you find the one you are using is physically hard to breathe through. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, or have trouble breathing, sit down and remove your face covering. If it continues, call 911.

Myth: Wearing a mask can weaken your immune system.

Fact: The idea behind this myth is more or less that the mask will insulate you from all germs, and your immune system will get used to not having any germs to fight and get weaker. That’s not exactly how immune systems work, and it’s definitely not how masks work. A cloth face covering does a better job at helping you keep your germs to yourself than it does protecting you from other people’s germs. (Remember? My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.) We do think that wearing a mask will probably protect you from some respiratory germs that you might otherwise breathe in, but not any of the germs you get exposed to by eating or drinking or petting the dog, or playing outside, or going to the bathroom. Wear the mask. You will still get exposed to plenty of germs, and your immune system will be fine.

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