A doctor wore a cloth, an N95 and a surgical mask at the same time to dispel a common myth

As face masks have become mandatory in many places to limit the spread of coronavirus, it's also become an increasingly politicized thing. As we know, anything that involves political polarization also involves vast amounts of misinformation and disinformation. Whose idea was the internet again?

No one I know loves wearing a mask. We all wish we didn't have to. But there are an awful lot of people saying they can't wear one, or they refuse to wear one because they've been led to believe that masks are somehow more dangerous than not wearing one. I've seen and read "information" on everything from masks depriving people of oxygen to masks causing CO2 build up to masks creating fungus problems.


Dr. Gloria Guptill/Facebook

We have to be wary of where we get our information from. Thankfully, there are true experts out there to set the record straight.

Like many physicians, Dr. Gloria Guptill has been fighting COVID-19 myths on social media. Recently, she did an experiment with three masks at once to dispel the myth that masks deprive people of oxygen.

Dr. Guptill wrote on Facebook:

"Need a medical excuse not to wear a mask? You can't breathe with it?

Actually, YOU CAN breathe. As an experiment, I wore a cloth mask, surgical mask AND N95 mask, one on top of the other, for the first thirty minutes of my day today. And guess what... my oxygen level is 99%, same as without it. Yes, it was hot and a tad uncomfortable but I survived. I wear a mask ALL day and I am just fine. You can do it too.

I have heard every excuse under the sun why some people don't want to wear masks. I have gotten requests to write notes excusing patients from wearing masks to work, on a plane or wherever because they 'can't breathe.' I get it- it's summer and it's hot. They are uncomfortable. We aren't use to it. I don't disagree. Wearing a mask is about you protecting others. I get it- you feel fine but as we all know, you can spread the virus while feeling just fine and the person(s) you give it to may not have it so easy. There isn't a medical condition that excuses you from wearing a mask. If you truly feel that your condition limits your ability to wear one, please call your doctor. If you have asthma or COPD, you should really be staying home as much as possible and these conditions are all the more reason TO wear a mask. Pick a comfortable mask that is fit well for you and wear it correctly. A mask that doesn't correctly fit your face can be more uncomfortable then it needs to be. Find a mask made from moisture wicking and breathable fabric. A three layer cloth mask is best for being out and about. They work. When you breathe, droplets from your mouth and nose spread about 6 feet. The mask contains these droplets.

Unless you are under 2 years old, are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help, you need to wear a mask.

Surgical and fabric masks do not add resistance while inhaling. They simply decrease droplet spread. Mask do not effect respiratory mechanics. If you feel you can't breathe, you need a new mask. If you truly can't find one that is comfortable and you MUST go out, wear a face shield that drops down below your chin. Theoretically, since the mask is acting as a shield not a filter (only N95 can also filter), the shield should also stop the droplets from being dispersed. There isn't any data on shield vs. mask currently. Masks should contain the droplets better though.

The bottom line: Wear your mask, you can breathe. Sorry it's not as comfortable as without it, but a ventilator is a whole lot more uncomfortable. Do it for others. We have to.
Have a great day!
Gloria Guptill, M.D."

The good doctor also answered some questions in the comments and added some additional information. This is about CO2 build-up:

"Carbon dioxide molecules freely diffuse through the masks, allowing normal gas exchange while breathing. Ask ANY board certified physician in America and they will tell you rebreathing tiny amounts of CO2 from wearing either properly fitted N95 respirators or more loosely fitted cloth or surgical masks is of no concern. Way before the conspiracy theorists, medical providers have worn surgical or cloth masks for 12 hour surgeries without retaining CO2. The CO2 molecule is so small it doesn't accumulate behind the mask AND EVEN IF IT DID, it is easily eliminated by both the respiratory and metabolic systems in the body. Read a Human physiology textbook for more information. We learned this the first year of med school."

A commenter claimed that they had blood work done while wearing a mask and that it showed elevated CO2 levels. She responded by saying: "CO2 is often/usually elevated on blood work because most people hold their breath a little when it is being drawn. This isn't due to the mask."

One commenter claimed that his O2 level went from 92 without a mask to 49 with a mask, to which Dr. Guptill pointed out that he would be comatose if his blood oxygen really got that low. So probably a broken pulse oximeter (or a broken sense of reality—but that's my take, not the doctors).

She also clarified what each mask actually does.

"N95 masks are the only masks that can protect you from Aerosolization, which is why physicians intubating COVID-19 patients need to wear them. Cloth masks contain your droplets inside the mask so you wearing one protects others. The cloth mask you wear doesn't protect you. Your mask protects others and their masks protect you..."

Just like if two little boys are running around naked and they pee, their pee is going to get on each other. If they're both wearing pants, the pee stays contained to their pants. Wearing pants keeps pee from going on other people, but doesn't keep non-pants-wearing-people's pee from getting on them. We're only all protected if we all wear pants. Same idea with masks. It only really works if all of us do it.

Some people feel like they can't breathe because of claustrophobia or anxiety, but that can be remedied by practicing wearing masks for a few minutes at a time and building up a tolerance.

If you truly have a breathing condition that makes it impossible for you to wear a mask, then wear a face shield—but also consider not going places if possible, because if you can't breathe in a mask, you definitely don't want to get COVID-19.



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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.