Emergency departments in the U.S. seeing more mask-related injuries

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The spike in face mask use during the pandemic came with a spike in mask-related injuries, a new study shows. From 2016 through 2019, an average of 200 such injuries were treated annually in U.S. emergency departments.

In 2020, that number went up by 2,400%, to nearly 5,000, according to data published on Friday. The injuries occurred at all ages, with white and Black people equally represented, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Most common were skin irritation, rashes, and allergic reactions. But 14% of mask-related injuries were due to obscured vision and included falls and motor vehicle accidents. F

ive percent were in children who had eaten a piece of a mask or stuck a piece into the nose or other orifice. Three percent of injuries, all in elderly people, were due to falls from bending over to pick up a dropped mask.

 “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published recommendations and resources to aid in the choice and proper fit of face masks,” the study authors wrote. “The results of the current study underscore the need for increased awareness of these resources in order to minimize the future occurrence of mask-related injuries.”

Read more via Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Photo: One of two lion statues wears a symbolic protective face mask at the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, USA. EPA-EFE/TANNEN MAURY