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Peripheral Oxygen Saturation in Older Persons Wearing Nonmedical Face Masks in Community Settings

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Based on the evidence that nonmedical face masks prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,1,2 many governments are mandating the wearing of masks in the community. However, fueled partly by claims on social media that masks can cause hypoxia and are therefore dangerous,3 concerns have emerged about the safety of wearing face masks. We examined whether wearing nonmedical face masks was associated with a change in oxygen saturation.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Noel C. Chan, MBBS, C5-116 DBCVRI, 237 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2, Canada (noel.chan@taari.ca).

Published Online: October 30, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21905

Author Contributions: Dr Chan had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Chan, Hirsh.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Chan, Hirsh.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Chan, Li.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Chan, Li.

Supervision: Chan, Hirsh.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Chan reports receiving a speaker’s fee from Bayer outside of the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.

References
1.
Chu  DK , Akl  EA , Duda  S , Solo  K , Yaacoub  S , Schünemann  HJ ; COVID-19 Systematic Urgent Review Group Effort (SURGE) study authors.  Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis.   Lancet. 2020;395(10242):1973-1987. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31142-9PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Doung-Ngern  P , Suphanchaimat  R , Panjangampatthana  A ,  et al.  Case-control study of use of personal protective measures and risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, Thailand.   Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(11):1973-1987. doi:10.3201/eid2611.203003PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Goodman  J . and Carmichael  F . Coronavirus: “deadly masks” claims debunked. BBC. Posted July 24, 2020. Accessed August 15, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/53108405
4.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Considerations for wearing masks: help slow the spread of COVID-19. Updated August 7, 2020. Accessed October 4, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
5.
Greenhalgh  T , Javid  B , Matthew  BJ , Inada-Kim  M . What is the efficacy and safety of rapid exercise tests for exertional desaturation in COVID-19. Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Posted April 21 2020. Accessed October 4, 2020. https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/what-is-the-efficacy-and-safety-of-rapid-exercise-tests-for-exertional-desaturation-in-covid-19/
6.
Rodríguez-Molinero  A , Narvaiza  L , Ruiz  J , Gálvez-Barrón  C .  Normal respiratory rate and peripheral blood oxygen saturation in the elderly population.   J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013;61(12):2238-2240. doi:10.1111/jgs.12580PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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