Studies Find Tight-Fitting Masks May Cause Headaches
Several worldwide studies have found a link between tight-fitting N95 face masks and compression headaches.
Speaking to Fox 26 News, Kylie Petrarca, an intensive care unit nurse who wore an N95 mask at work, said:
"I was getting throbbing, throbbing headaches and I know it was from this de novo PPE-associated headaches."
Health workers often spend many hours wearing N95 face masks. The Association of Migraine Sufferers recommends that, if the mask wearer experiences throbbing, pressure or pain on both sides of the head, they should take a break from wearing their masks or be assigned to an area where full N95 mask protection is not required. Workers who are required to wear face masks for prolonged periods should wear masks that are not too tight and are comfortable to wear.
Other symptoms caused by tight-fitting masks are light sensitivity, nausea and sound sensitivity. Headaches may not necessarily be caused by tight-fitting face masks, but the result of tension and stress felt while working in high-pressure environments.
Though Covid pandemic restrictions have been lifted, some workplaces, especially in the health sector, still require staff and visitors to wear PPE (personal protective equipment). Light fabric disposable face masks do not fit tightly and are comfortable to wear for extended periods. N95 face masks provide better protection and are recommended for healthcare workers and in care homes.
It is important that any mask that provides an elevated level of protection should also feel comfortable to wear and not fit too tightly.