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10-year-old with underlying condition joins effort to get Iowans to “Mask Up”, doctors address mask misconceptions

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:17 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As part of the "Mask up Iowa" initiative, the Governor is encouraging Iowans to wear face masks in public. One 10-year-old from Ely, who has an underlying health condition, joined the effort and is now encouraging others to do the same.

“I’m Quinn and I have asthma. I wear a mask because I know what it’s like to not be able to breathe very well,” said Quinn Robertson in part of a video he made, as part of the initiative.

“I just wanted to put the word out there and have people wear a mask because people wearing a mask, it just helps everyone,” said Quinn.

Quinn suffers from asthma but says that doesn’t stop him from wearing a mask. “It’s just basically when you get used to it and wear it for one or two minutes, it just feels like normal breathing,” Quinn said.

Quinn’s mom, Kelli, says was impressed but not surprised at her son’s want to get involved in the effort.

“His empathy for others has always impressed me. I think he cares very deeply about ethics and doing the right thing,” she said.

Doctors say however there is a population of people who shouldn’t wear masks.

“The most important people who should not be wearing masks people less than 2 years old or for one reason or another aren’t able to remove the mask if they have problems breathing,” said Doctor Melanie Wellington, Associate Epidemiologist with the University of Iowa and Infectious Disease Specialist.

Wellington says in that case, there are face shields.

“For most people who find breathing through a mask uncomfortable because of breathing problems, it’s usually because the mask changes the amount of force it takes to move the air in and out, so if you wear a face shield then the force to move the air in and out is the same,” she said.

Doctor Wellington says there are many misconceptions out there about mask-wearing, including the one-way valve mask which she says isn’t effective.

“What we need the mask to do is have the air filter through the mask so we remove the droplets through the air as were talking or breathing or coughing, so if there is a mask with a one-way valve in it, that’s not actually going to blocking the spread of the infection,” she said.

Another misconception addressed in a video that went viral, where a University of Iowa Intensive Care Specialist dispels the misconception that wearing a mask affects blood levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

“Healthy, your oxygen saturation levels are in the 95-100 range,” explained Dr. Greg Schmidt, in the video. “If you put on a mask on and measure your oxygenation level, it’s going to 97 or 98 percent, might even be 98 or 99 percent. It would be the same with a mask and without a mask.”

“The idea that masks somehow affect blood levels of oxygen and carbon monoxide is not true,” Schmidt explained in the video. “The best way to not have to wear one is to wear one now.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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