Wearing a mask helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and does not impact the oxygen saturation of the wearer, regardless of if the individual has asthma or not, according to research presented at the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting.

Researchers requested that patients at the Michigan Medicine Allergy Clinic from September 10-October 23, 2020, complete a survey which covered asthma diagnosis, their perceived control of asthma, and the type of mask that was worn. During the appointment a pulse oximetry reading was performed on patients while they were wearing their mask. Patients also were asked to report how long a mask was worn before the measurement was taken.

A total of 223 surveys were reviewed. Oxygen saturation (SpO2) ranged between 93-100%, with an average of 98%, for those with asthma. The range was 93-100%, with an average of 98%, for those without asthma. There were no significant differences in measurements when it came to gender, race, type of mask used, or the amount of time masks had been worn. For asthma patients who recorded their level of asthma control, similar SpO2 was measured in the well-controlled and not fully controlled groups.

“This data reinforces that wearing a mask, whether it is a surgical mask, cloth mask, or N95, is completely safe,” said author Alan P. Baptist, MD, MPH, FAAAAI, who performed the study along with colleagues Malika Gupta, MD, and Marisa Hodges, MD. “This is true for all individuals, whether they have a diagnosis of asthma or not. Wearing a mask is an essential step we can all take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. I hope this latest data will deliver peace of mind to individuals who are worried that wearing a mask may be dangerous, especially for those individuals who have asthma.”