Covid-19: How Does Wearing Mask Affect Heart Rate and Oxygen Levels

Dr Megan Hall's experiment goes viral after sharing online

South Carolina, based pediatrician Dr Megan Hall, put a Facebook post regarding masks that captured netizens attention this week. Dr Hall conducted an experiment to test her oxygen levels and heart rate while wearing different face masks to show that it was not hard to breathe wearing masks. She wanted to advocate the usage of face masks as a preventive step towards Covid-19.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of comments on Facebook, or hearing from patients or other people with concerns about detriments to their health regarding wearing a mask,” Dr. Hall wrote. She wrote that she heard a lot of people complaining, at work and online, that they could not breathe with a mask on, or don’t wear mask because their oxygen levels drop dramatically.

face mask
Courtesy: Megan Hall Facebook post

She tested four different scenarios, one with no mask, one with a surgical mask , one with an N95 mask (a type of respirator) and an N95 plus surgical mask, which she says is what most healthcare providers in the US are wearing right now. In the end, all of her recordings came out to be near identical.

With no mask on, her oxygen saturation was at 98 percent, with her heart rate at 64 beats per minute. When wearing the surgical mask, her oxygen level remained the same, but heart rate went up to 68. While both the N95 masks gave an oxygen saturation reading of 99 percent and heart rate at 69 beats per minute.

Dr Hall then wrote a post about her experiment on Facebook, which was shared over over 30 thousand times in less than two days. Dr Hall says she wasn’t looking for viral fame, just trying to help her friends and family.

“Really with South Carolina and Horry County being a hot spot now, I was really trying to get this message out to friends and family,” she said.

She says she’s still gotten some negative comments from people who dispute her message, but if her post helps out even one person, any criticisms would be worth it.

Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19, says the WHO. Wearing a mask not only saves ones lives but others too. That is why many governments have issued guidelines for their citizens to wear masks or cover it when they go out.





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