I have asthma, do I also have to wear a mouth mask?

Wearing a mouth mask is important in the fight against the corona virus, but it is not pleasant for everyone. People with asthma can become short of breath when they put on the mouth mask.

This sometimes causes unpleasant situations, such as an asthma attack on public transport and angry looks from bystanders.

Need for air

A mouth mask restricts the air flow and that is important, says doctor Felix van der Wissel, if it is assumed that the virus spreads via aerosols. “But not nice for people with asthma.”

Everyone prefers to breathe freely, but this is even more important for people with asthma, he says. “They have a great need for a free flow of air, because they are already stuffy by nature. If they have to wear a mouth mask, this feeling becomes even worse.”

Certain situations can trigger such an asthma attack. On the bus, for example, says Van der Wissel. “Someone with asthma who enters a bus already feels his trachea tightened. What follows is a strong immune response. Inhaling will work, but exhaling is a lot more difficult. Then it causes stress, which makes the reaction even stronger. Then you get it. an asthmatic attack. It’s a vicious circle, as it were, “explains the doctor.

There are a number of causes of stress that play a role in asthma, such as the difference between heat and cold. This can happen, for example, when people step into a warm bus from a cold outside air, says Van der Wissel.

Mandatory or not?

But whether for these reasons people with asthma no longer need to wear a mouth mask does not seem like a good idea to him. “We all have to wear a face mask if we want to limit corona infections. People wear a face mask to protect people with asthma, chronic lung disease or emphysema, then they have to do that themselves too.”

Van der Wissel does advocate more empathy against those who sometimes take off their mouth caps – on public transport – or who accidentally have a severe coughing fit. “You are quickly approached, while people do not know what is going on.”

To avoid misunderstanding, he advises people with asthma to show that they are taking medication. “Make sure you have your medication with you and show it.”

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