From The Asian Reporter, V31, #10 (October 4, 2021),
Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect
By Lindsey Tanner
The Associated Press
AP Illustration by Peter Hamlin
Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?
No, there is no scientific evidence showing masks cause harm
to kidsí health despite baseless claims suggesting otherwise.
The claims are circulating on social media and elsewhere just
as virus outbreaks are hitting many reopened U.S. schools ó
particularly those without mask mandates.
Among the unfounded arguments: Masks can foster germs if they
become moist or cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. But
experts say washing masks routinely keeps them safe and clean.
Some argue that young children miss important visual and
social cues that enhance learning and development when their
classmates and teachers are wearing masks. But others note that
children with vision or hearing impairment learn to adapt and
that other kids can, too.
"We donít know for sure that masks have no developmental
effects but we do know that there are adverse effects from not
trying to stop transmission," said Dr. Emily Levy, a critical
care and infection control expert at the Mayo Clinic Childrenís
Thereís strong evidence masking children in schools can
reduce COVID-19 transmission to other children and adults.
Across 166 schools in Maricopa County, Arizona, COVID-19
outbreaks are two times more common at those without mask
mandates, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the
countyís public health department.
Studies from school districts in other states including North
Carolina have also found that masking can greatly reduce
COVID-19 transmission rates, especially when itís combined with
physical distancing and other prevention measures.
"One thing that we know about prevention, about infection
control is that there isnít a single intervention that will win
the day," said Dr. Joshua Schaffzin, director of infection
prevention and control at Cincinnati Childrenís Hospital.
But he noted thereís plenty of evidence that masking is a key
component in making schools safer.
To avoid skin irritation, doctors suggest washing masks
regularly, making sure they fit properly, and picking masks made
with soft, breathable fabric.
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