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Nebraska Medicine top doctor dispels face-mask myths and misinformation

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 7:40 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As experts warn myths and misinformation are misguiding too many people, 6 News is separating fact from fiction when it comes to wearing a face mask; starting with basic breathing.

“The wearing of masks is not harmful,” said Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Nebraska Medicine. “Your body is very well attuned and adjusts itself for small shifts in (carbon dioxide) it may encounter in respiration,” noting this includes people with asthma.

“In fact, for some people with asthma it may be beneficial in that it helps to filter out some of the pollen, and dust, and things like that,” said Rupp, adding the exception is someone who is having an asthma attack. “A well-controlled asthmatic that’s not acutely having an asthma attack, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

As parents look to get their kids back to school, myths arise.

“I don’t really buy into that argument that somehow we’re going to be depriving them or psychologically harming them,” said Rupp.

At the Millard Public Schools Board meeting Tuesday night, one mother expressed her fears about mask-wearing.

“You are never going to put this Petri dish on my child’s face,” she told the school board. “And that’s essentially what this mask will do. It will trap all these things against my child’s face.”

Rupp says simply wash the mask.

“If a mask becomes saturated or soiled it will become less effective and the cloth masks can be washed to that point,” said Rupp, who recommends having a few masks to cycle through and keep fresh.

Above all else, Rupp says keep everyone’s health and safety top of mind.

“Unfortunately this has become a political issue rather than a public health issue,” said Rupp. “We really need to try and ratchet down the level of rhetoric and focus on the information that is available.”

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