Doctor explains why you might feel breathless wearing a mask

Dr Sarah Jarvis has explained reasons why you might feel breathless while wearing a mask ahead of it becoming mandatory to wear one inside shops during the coronavirus pandemic.

The law will make it mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England as of 24 July.

Dr Sarah, who has taken over from Dr Hilary as he takes a break over the summer, appeared on Good Morning Britain to address a recent viral video of a doctor demonstrating that wearing a mask doesn’t reduce your oxygen levels.

She explained that if people do feel breathless while wearing one it is more likely to be down to ‘adrenaline’ generated by ‘anxiety’ about wearing a mask.

Dr Sarah explained: ‘If you have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which means that your oxygen levels tend to be lower anyway – most of us run at oxygen saturation levels of about 98, 99 percent – if you’ve got COPD your levels might be 95 percent and that means whenever you exert yourself you feel short of breath.

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‘If you have something on your face you may well feel anxious about it. The good news is that we know it doesn’t have that effect.

‘So what we can now do is perhaps encourage people to put them on at home. If you go out and you have to go into a shop and you get a bit anxious, you will start to breathe more, you will naturally start to feel more short of breath.

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‘And the reason for that is that you are over-breathing, you’ve got more adrenaline, and adrenaline naturally makes you want to breathe more, makes you feel breathless.

‘So you may think that it’s because of the mask when in fact you’re breathless because of the anxiety.’

Presenter Ranvir Singh added: ‘So practice at home, going up and down the stairs, get yourself used to it.’

So far it has not been required by law to wear a mask in shops but it is strongly advised that you do so for the protection of yourself and others in light of the ongoing pandemic.

As of the 21 July a further 15 people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK hospital death toll to 33,798.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.

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