The year 2020 is a year most everyone would rather forget. COVID-19, a virus that quickly became a worldwide pandemic, has completely changed the way of life for just about everyone. The controversy associated with the pandemic is almost as devastating as the virus itself.
Walking down the street, you can see people wearing masks on their evening strolls. As you drive through the grocery store parking lot, mothers are handing out masks to their children as they walk in the store. Essential workers everywhere from hospitals to restaurants to stores and more are required to wear masks. This leads us to the question; do masks actually protect us or do they make it unnecessarily harder on our everyday life?
Kim Eby, a licensed nurse who has worked for the Dayton Children’s hospital for 4 years says, “The standard masks that they have everyone wearing all the time are to keep you from spreading your germs with other people.”
Of course no one wants this pandemic to go on any longer than it already has. However, we are seeing controversy all around about whether masks are necessary and safe for our essential workers. Everyday workers are reporting the shortness of breath, problems with overheating and trouble seeing through glasses while wearing masks.
According to the Dayton, Ohio website, the Dayton City Commission passed an emergency ordinance to wear face coverings in “grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, libraries, bars, restaurants and public transportation.”
Although healthcare workers like Eby believes, “masks are a good compromise” and “there’s no harm from a healthy person wearing a mask,” others who are forced to adapt to wearing masks in their everyday career have different opinions.
Wade Nolan, an employee of Instrulab who does calibrations and repair for medical, automotive and military factories in the Dayton area and across the east coast says, “I believe there are negative health benefits to wearing masks in the situations I work in.”
Because Nolan is required to wear a mask for his job, he is able to explain how masks interfere with his normal routine. While masks may be the right solution to the pandemic, everyday workers who have to go through the hassle and potential dangerous hazards of wearing masks while they work have good reason to be concerned.
Nolan often works repairing furnaces and other heating devices that can sometimes raise the temperature of a room up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. One of Nolan’s main concerns is his ability to breathe. Nolan believes “wearing a mask causes you to breathe your own CO2 and that makes your lungs work harder.”
Could this really be the case? According to nurse Eby, the benefits of masks are to protect others from your germs and improve your own air quality due to the better level of air pollutants.
Not only do masks interfere with the normal healthy person, it may also affect hospital patients. The children Eby works with at Dayton Children’s Hospital are especially affected.
“They can’t read your facial expressions which can be a really good thing, but it can also be a really bad thing because kids tend to be a little bit more scared,” said Eby. “They don’t understand why they can’t see your face.”
Now that we recognize masks are uncomfortable, create concern for many everyday workers and can unfortunately interfere with healthcare workers jobs as well, does wearing masks in public do anything to protect yourself and others?
“If I have the one that prevents me from breathing anything in, then I feel that I am protected,” said Eby. “A regular mask doesn’t protect me as much as it protects other people from my germs.” Overall, we see that our essential workers do suffer from the requirements of masks. It prevents them from doing their jobs to their full capability. However, according to our healthcare workers and government recommendations, they are necessary to protect from the virus that is spreading. Through this controversial issue, everyone is wishing everyday life would go back to normal, but also wish to remain safe and protect their friends