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Poll: Many People With Asthma Have Mixed Feelings About Masks

By Robert PreidtHealthDay ReporterWEDNESDAY, Jan. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Although they report difficulty breathing and discomfort while wearing a face mask, most people with asthma still use them in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds.University of Illinois Chicago researchers conducted an online survey of more than 500 adults with asthma.…

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Although they report difficulty breathing and discomfort while wearing a face mask, most people with asthma still use them in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds.

University of Illinois Chicago researchers conducted an online survey of more than 500 adults with asthma. They found that 84% reported discomfort and 75% reported trouble breathing or shortness of breath at least occasionally while wearing a face mask to guard against COVID-19.

Still, “the majority of those surveyed said about masks, ‘Just wear it,'” study co-author Dr. Sharmilee Nyenhuis said in a university news release. Nyenhuis is an associate Professor in the College of Medicine.

Poorer asthma control and wearing a mask for longer periods of time were associated with more symptoms while wearing a mask, according to the study. The findings were published in the January issue of theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

As well as answering survey questions, participants were asked open-ended questions about their experiences wearing masks and their recommendations for other people with asthma.

In that part of the study, 45% of participants said they had problems breathing and increased coughing when wearing a mask; 39% said they had no change in their asthma when wearing a mask, and 2% said their asthma symptoms improved when wearing a mask, likely because the mask filtered out pollen and pollutants that trigger respiratory distress, according to the researchers.

About 5% of the participants said they don’t always wear a mask.

The study participants offered suggestions about mask-wearing for others with asthma. They included:

  • Take the time to find a comfortable, well-fitting mask.
  • Keep your inhaler with you.
  • Stay on top of your asthma medications.
  • Make sure your mask is at room temperature if cold triggers your asthma.
  • Ta

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