- Masks can strengthen the containment effect of social distancing
- Medical professionals have been wearing them since the 17th century
- The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask
Of the many unfounded myths and rumors which have surfaced since the coronavirus upended 2020, one of the latest is that wearing a mask will weaken your immune system.
It also may be the weirdest, given that medical professionals have been wearing masks at work since the Black Plague became prevalent in the 17th century. These original masks were hooked, crow-like affairs which became synonymous with the plague.
The streamlined fabric, disposable, and respirator varieties of masks currently employed by doctors and nurses tending to COVID-19 patients effectively contain any respiratory droplets the healthcare workers exhale. That, of course, is how the virus spreads. This is why the CDC has updated its guidelines to recommend that all people leaving their homes wear masks to contain the spread of the virus.
There is no science to back up claims that the wearing of masks and distancing from others can weaken your immune system. This assumption, as noted by Forbes, also only works if there are no other ways for microbes to enter the body besides inhalation. Touching your eyes and any other orifice can also transfer bacteria and viral particles from other people and surfaces to your body.
While it is true that loneliness resulting from the isolation, which is encouraged during the pandemic, can negatively impact your health, including your immune system, wearing a face mask will not.