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Long Covid or Long Mask?
MIES (Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome)
Since mask mandates came into force, sceptics said that firstly, cloth/surgical masks do not stop a respiratory virus and secondly, breathing in the air you have expelled can’t be good for you. One of the reasons we exhale is to remove the carbon dioxide made by cells in the form of stale air. Our cells need fresh oxygen to create energy efficiently, so surely breathing in stale air will produce negative consequences.
It seemed obvious but to the obsessive mask wearers, this was just another conspiracy theory. Until now. Last week an article in Frontier in Public Health conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis and comprehensive evaluation of the physio-metabolic and clinical consequences of wearing face masks.
WARNING - The results of this study can trigger people who shouted at you for being selfish for not wearing a mask.
The authors reviewed 2,168 studies on adverse medical mask effects which included 2,482 males and 6,159 females with an average age of 35. The median trial duration was only 18 minutes long so you can extrapolate any findings for longer mask use. Previous studies had been done but they were predominantly restricted to healthy and sporty individuals. As the authors note, a silver lining of mask mandates is that it provided good research conditions for studying their adverse effects.
They concluded that in the absence of strong empirical evidence of mask effectiveness against viral transmission, mask wearing should not be mandated, let alone enforced by law. But why did they think this?
As most rational thinkers suspected, masks interfered with O2 uptake and CO2 release, compromising respiratory compensation. The authors found significant effects not only in medical surgical masks but to a greater extent in N95 masks.
Effects included decreased SpO2 (low blood oxygen levels) and minute ventilation (amount of air entering the lungs) whilst at the same time an increase in blood-CO2, heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and humidity.
Just low blood oxygen levels on its own is a major concern. Especially for those wearing masks for long periods of time and every day. A lack of oxygen to organs and tissues can, over time, cause heart and brain damage.
Some of the significant effects recorded included exertion, discomfort, dyspnoea (shortness of breath) and humidity. When combining data from the multiple studies other effects included headaches, acne, skin irritation, heat, itching, voice disorder and dizziness.
Many of the adverse effects only became apparent with N95 masks and vulnerable populations or appropriately large samples wearing surgical masks. This suggests the obvious, if you were vulnerable and forced to wear a mask, you were more likely to suffer adverse effects. The stupid thing is, even today, the only people left wearing masks are vulnerable people who have been made to wear one.
Face masks undoubtedly impede natural breathing…Such respiratory impairments due to the “new-normal”…have imposed potential adverse effects on our usual external (airway, lungs) and internal (cellular) respiration, affecting a wide range of physio-metabolic processes within various organ systems and/or at cellular levels…Restricting breathing through face masks has turned out to be a fundamental, incisive intervention with possible negative effects on public health.
MIES (Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome)
The interesting part comes when they discuss the overlapping of face mask effects with long-COVID-19 symptoms. Have people diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) with long-Covid actually been experiencing MIES?
Nearly 40% of the main long-Covid symptoms overlap with mask related complaints and symptoms. The authors therefore conclude that it is possible that some symptoms attributed to long-Covid are predominantly mask-related.
Though evaluated wearing durations are shorter than daily/prolonged use, outcomes independently validate mask-induced exhaustion-syndrome (MIES) and down-stream physio-metabolic disfunctions. MIES can have long-term clinical consequences, especially for vulnerable groups. So far, several mask related symptoms may have been misinterpreted as long COVID-19 symptoms.
WHO’s definition of health
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a state of wellbeing and health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Therefore, based on the findings in this study, mask wearing in the hope of maintaining health contradicts the WHO’s own definition of health.
Seeing the overall weak evidence for efficacy of masks against viral transmission within the general population, face masks have to be evaluated appropriately in the sense of the Hippocratic Oath and as per the Primum nihil nocere (above all do not harm). To avoid at all costs that the damage caused by preventive or therapeutic measures becomes greater than that caused by the disease itself, should be the credo of all those involved in the containment of the crisis, including politicians and the so-called experts.
Medical decisions can only be made on the basis of comprehensive knowledge on a patient's overall condition, individualized case history, considering all previous illnesses and interventions, physical and mental predispositions, and his/her socio-economic state, etc. When it comes to medical decision-making in a sick person, the weighing of therapeutic measures for the benefit of the patient against the side effects of the therapy is to be evaluated differently than a prophylactic procedure in healthy people. If wrong decisions are made in the selection of preventive measures in healthy individuals, or if they are improperly applied, the consequences are usually much more severe and liability claims are often unavoidable.
Wearing masks can lead to illness and clinical consequences, similar to repeated exposure to environmental hazards. Most countries have laws providing redress for workers who have succumbed to occupational diseases. As I warned from the very beginning, companies mandating anything that could impact someone’s health should beware. By that I mainly meant people being forced or pressured to be vaccinated with a novel therapy, suffering an adverse event and suing the company. However, now I can foresee major claims from workers suffering from MIES after companies pressured them into wearing masks. And to be honest, they will thoroughly deserve being sued.
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