Local pediatrician supports children wearing masks with risk control considerations

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A local paediatrician is seeking to provide a level of assurance to parents that are struggling to determine whether or not their children will be returning to face-to-face learning come September.

Some parents have expressed a level of uncertainty about children wearing a face mask for several hours, especially those with asthma, heart-related conditions and other health issues.

Local paediatrician Dr Edda Hadeed, says wearing a mask is actually a good thing for children, coupled with the other necessary precautions.

“The mask reduces the viral load that might be thrown at you if you are together with somebody who might be harbouring Covid-19. It simply reduces the viral load that gets into your face. We know that certain people are more at risk for complications. That would include people with asthma.

“So in other words, those folks who are more at risk of getting complications in the event that they get Covid, those are the ones who have to be very meticulous about protecting themselves,” she said.

Hadeed also added that wearing a mask will not change the oxygen content of one’s blood and does not make one’s body harder to maintain oxygen saturation.

Head of the paediatric Unit at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Dr Shivon Belle Jarvis, also addressed the matter during an interview today.

She explained that there are several factors which could be considered.

“I must highlight those with asthma, those that are uncontrolled; your physician may be able to say that this is a child who has severe asthma that is uncontrollable, and therefore should not be asked to wear masks, this is a child that has a disability and should not be asked to wear a mask.

“Children who are thought to be high risk may even consider doing the online system as opposed to the blended system until things become clearer. Even with the face shield, the face shield should not replace masks, but there has to be breaks. You cannot expect a child, for a 6-hour period to be wearing a mask,” Jarvis explained.

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