By Chris Ezeh
Our attention has just been drawn to a post going viral on social media and now also published in many African group fora. The video post showed Reverend Vicar Diedo who collapsed while preaching the homily at Holy Mass in Douala Cameroun. Please this post is a total misinformation for our people. As a professional in this field, working and advising daily hundreds of patients on health matters, I felt I must throw in some light here and inform correctly. As the saying goes, “knowledge is strength and ignorance kills”.
The first MISINFORMATION in that post says:
“The need to be careful: No masks during exercises and when talking for a long time because one would be inhaling carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. This is Vicar Diedo Douala who died while preaching the homily at Holy Mass yesterday.”
This is absolute nonsense!
If this is true, all medical personnel in hospitals, in operation theatres etc. who stand and work for hours with masks will all have been dead. While there is growing evidence that masks can affect breathing in general, there are no scientific studies on its physical impacts or which support the assertion that face coverings change the subjective experience. A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.”
If you have medical conditions avoid big gatherings entirely or if it is a MUST you have to attend, ensure you have 1.5 to 2.0 metres distance from people around you otherwise you are playing with your life or those of your immediate family.
There is no medical and scientific proof that masks are lethal during physical exertion or in conversations. The most crucial point here is your medical conditions. If you are healthy, wearing a mask will not kill you. If you feel sick, or if you have a cold, etc., please stay at home. If you wear a mask and feel uncomfortable, remove it for a while and go for some fresh air. (Please before removing your mask, ALWAYS ensure you are not near to anyone. If this is not possible leave the place for a while) In all conversations with a face cover mask or without, ensure you have 1-2 meters distance from your conversation partner.
The 2nd MISINFORMATION in a reply-post says:
I was advised that mask 😷 should be worn when you are in a populated area, not when you are alone without anybody around you. As far as I am concerned here, he had no reason to wear mask to preach because he was alone he would have put on the mask as soon as he finishes preaching.
This is another absolute wrong information!
On the contrary, you NEED masks *when you are close to people with any distance less than 1.5 metres!! If you do otherwise, you could infect someone, or you get infected yourself.
Remember: Most infections have been recorded by interaction with people who have no symptoms and via the so-called “big spreaders” in group gatherings where *aerosol* (used air coming out from our mouths and noses) can easily be transmitted from one person to another. *For example, medical researchers in Germany have discovered that in the churches and in choir groups one singer can spread 10x more aerosol than one person during a normal conversation. Besides, having parties and activities in closed rooms with poorly maintained, air-conditioners without outside air-feed ventilation, increases drastically the chance of spreading covid19 virus.
The WHO advise that people looking after someone who has COVID-19 and those who have symptoms such as coughing and sneezing should wear a face mask. Virologists and medical experts based on what we now know about the spread of COVID), recommend wearing masks in public settings where it may be very difficult to adhere to physical distancing measures.
These settings may include:
- Hospitals and other HealthCare settings
- *All public gatherings OR in any other social situations* where social distancing (1.5 – 2 metres) is not possible.
- In the classrooms
- Town meetings
- grocery stores
- In public transport, in shops, and in some working conditions, such as those of social workers and cashiers.
- People aged 60 and over and people with existing medical conditions MUST unfailingly wear medical masks when physical distancing is not possible.
To be on a safer, healthy side, you must ensure you know your medical conditions. The following measures below are indispensable because they determine further, preventive, medical steps which can save your life, before it becomes too late.
Know your blood pressure status – (hypertensive, hypotensive or normal), How are your liver, lungs and your kidneys working? If these 3 major organs are not doing well, they can easily affect the functions of other vital organs in your body, especially your heart. If this is not timely attended to, a chronic condition or even sudden death without warning might be the result!! You MUST also know your HIV status.
Do not play with your blood sugar level!! Is your status (normal, Hyperglycaemia or Hypoglycaemia?) /normal, high or low sugar levels in the blood. How is your immune system? What is the status of your Hormone D (vitamin D)?
How are your lungs? Do you have shortness of breath or chest pain? How is the oxygen level in your blood? Your blood oxygen level tells you how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying around in your system. Your body regulates your blood oxygen level. Maintaining the precise balance of oxygen-saturated blood is vital to your health. Under normal circumstances, children and adults do not need to monitor their blood oxygen level. In fact, many doctors do not check it unless you are showing signs of a medical condition, like shortness of breath or chest pain.
However, those with chronic health issues MUST monitor their blood oxygen level. This includes asthma, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In these cases, monitoring your blood oxygen level can help determine if treatments are working, or if they should be adjusted.
© By Chris Ezeh
Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, Intercultural Health Consultant
BG Klinikum Hamburg Germany
Executive Director EuroAfrica Media Network