Myth: Face masks can reduce oxygen getting to the lungs and bloodstream

This is not true for healthy people wearing surgical or cloth masks. There are many types of masks, from tight-fitting N95 respirators to looser surgical masks and homemade cloth masks. Some masks mean you have to put more effort into breathing if you wear them for a long time. The N95 mask forms a seal and filters 95 percent of particles. If worn for many hours without a break, an N95 mask might potentially affect oxygen levels but likely not to a dangerous extent, especially in people who are healthy. Looser surgical masks and cloth masks do not lower oxygen levels. It’s important to wear the right mask for the right situation. For example, medical workers in high risk situations need well-fitting N95 respirators, whereas healthy people going to the store may choose to use surgical or cloth masks. Wearing a surgical mask or homemade cloth mask will keep your germs in and protect others from you. Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 years or by anyone with breathing problems. Remember, if you are healthy and breathing normally, a mask will not lower your blood oxygen levels.