Should Immunocompromised People Continue to Wear Masks?
The short answer is: Yes.
Masks are our number one defense against the coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses, and while catching a COVID-19 variant at this stage in its evolution may not be as detrimental for most, immunocompromised individuals carry a higher risk than others.
Immunocompromised populations are ones who have inherited or acquired immune deficits, such as through chronic illnesses or genetics, making them more susceptible to infections, diseases, or any other health problems. Around 3% of Americans have a weakened immune system, including those who have received an organ transplant for example, or those suffering from cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and others.
In this article, we'll cover why should immunocompromised still wear masks and address common questions about the best ways to stay protected.
What Happens if Immunocompromised People Catch COVID-19?
During the pandemic, many disease control experts warned that immunocompromised people are extremely susceptible to COVID-19 and are more likely to deal with serious health consequences if they were to catch it, given that their immune system will have a harder time fighting off the infection.
Essentially, our immune system releases cytokines, infection-fighting proteins, in response to the coronavirus to defend our body from the COVID-19 cells. However, there is potential for the immune response to an infection to be aggressive and release too many, leading to a "cytokine storm", a dangerous phenomenon that can cause damage to organs and tissues and lead to severe illness, or even fatality. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is more likely to happen with immunocompromised people because their immune systems often have irregular responses to viruses and infections.
This is all further proof that those with a weakened immunity must take precautions, including practicing physical distancing and mask wearing during indoor public transportation settings or as occupational safety. Masks are also an effective way to reduce the transmission of any respiratory illnesses that could cause severe illness in those with weakened immune systems.
It is also important for family members, friends, and caregivers of immunocompromised individuals to follow these precautions to protect their loved ones.
Do Masks Weaken Your Immune System?
Absolutely not! This is a huge misconception, an especially harmful one for those who already have weaker immunities and need it most. Wearing masks is highly recommended as they act as a barrier to protect you from infections, and there is absolutely no evidence that suggests that mask wearing can make your immunity worse.
The misconception started out of what some call "Exposure therapy", or the idea that you need to fight lots of pathogens to make sure your immune system gets stronger, but actually by reducing the number of pathogens that your immune system has to fight off, you're giving your immune system a break and helping it function more efficiently.
What Are the Best Masks for Immunocompromised Individuals?
The key point here is simple - wear a high-quality mask.
The best masks for the immunocompromised population, and typically the best masks for most people to use to defend themselves from other respiratory illnesses are the N95 masks and KN95 masks.
Both N95 and KN95 masks are designed to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, including the droplets that spread the COVID-19 virus. The only difference between the two, as far as the average person is concerned, is that they are regulated under different international standards.
WellBefore and You
Immunocompromised or not, masks are necessary to protect yourself these days, but more than anything, the efficiency of a mask depends on many factors that you should look out for, with the most important being how it fits.
Wear a mask that fits tightly, sealing any gaps between the air and your face, but also wearing masks that fit comfortably. WellBefore offers a vast range of masks, including the N95 and KN95 masks, in various sizes and adjustable features, with fast and discreet shipping!