by Dina Kupfer

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As doctors battle a rise in cases of COVID-19 in hospitals, the mask debate continues on our streets and on social media, where misinformation is being spread about the safety of masks.

We see the signs posted in front of stores, and medical experts continue to stress: Wear a face covering. But for some, the falsehoods about masks have led to resistance.

A recent viral Facebook post suggests face coverings cause pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest often caused by infection. It turns out, that claim is false.

Dr. Dean Blumberg with UC Davis Health says the only way to get ill from a face mask is if it’s been contaminated with germs, or if you wore someone else’s dirty mask.

“You’re not going to get pleurisy from a face mask if you use your own,” he said.

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He says keep your mask clean, wash it daily, or have a different mask for each day of the week.

An Instagram video recently posted shows a woman concerned about unhealthy levels of CO2, or Carbon Dioxide, from breathing in your own air. That is a myth as well, according to Dr. Blumberg.

“People can get plenty of oxygen, they don’t become hypoxic, it doesn’t accumulate carbon dioxide, and these are perfectly safe,” he said.

He says surgical facemasks or cloth face coverings have gaps and allow for plenty of air circulation.

“Neurosurgeons and heart surgeons and nurses in the OR [operating room], they’re wearing their masks for four, eight, 12 hours a day. They’re not accumulating toxic gases, they’re not getting brain damage from this, these are really smart people,” Blumberg said.

Dr. Blumberg says wearing face coverings paired with social distancing is the best way to protect not only ourselves, but others as well.

“The primary transmission of COVID-19 is the respiratory route, so it just makes sense that wearing a mask will block the droplets,” Blumberg said. “That does result in decreasing transmission by about two thirds if you wear a mask.”

Dr. Blumberg says children under the age of two don’t have to wear face coverings because they are unlikely to wear them properly. But, he said it’s reasonable to have guidance that recommends all school-aged kids and teens wear masks.

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