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Can't breathe with masks at work

(21 Posts)
cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 20:15:54

Is it just me? I'm on and off wards (AHP) so not used to wearing FRSM and I'm finding it really challenging. As soon as I get one on, I feel really breathless and panicky, I can feel quite faint. I have to talk a lot to patients and I can't without feeling faint. I get really hot and really breathless. I'm getting a bit worried as it's been a few days since we were told to wear them and it's getting worse not better. Im not sure how I can do my job for months wearing them. There must be a better way to be able to breathe and talk - what am I missing here??

OP’s posts: |
Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 20:18:44

What masks are you using? I’m NHS frontline so wearing a mask all day and can breathe fine. The sore ears and nose are another matter however.

Thetigeronthewobbelboard Thu 09-Apr-20 20:18:58

All the sympathy. Not a health care professional but has to wear one on two occasions for antenatal appointments. I had a panic attack on both occasions. Obviously I rationally know why I need to wear one but my head sends me into a complete panic.

CovidCanFKcuOFF Thu 09-Apr-20 20:21:08

I had an old sanding mask fp3 I wore to the shops and I felt awful!

cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 20:24:42

@Indella just normal surgical masks. Most of my colleagues don't particularly like them but can breathe and work function fine but for some reason I'm really struggling. I'm even worse in FFP3 but rarity having to wear those.

OP’s posts: |
Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 20:38:01

Yes that’s what we are using also. I can breathe fine in it. It doesn’t fit my face very well so that could be why I guess. Plus prior to the outbreak I spent a lot of time in theatres so I guess I’m used to wearing them already. The FFP3’s are vile and make me feel like I’m suffocating! Thankfully we don’t wear them much! Do you think you could loosen it slightly and see if that helps.

Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 20:41:11

That’s the fit of mine, you can see it gapes at the sides which allows me to breathe better. I imagine the shape of your face and how tight you wear it makes a difference also.

Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 20:41:59

Pic didn’t load properly.

cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 20:43:02

@Indella but you don't have a good seal there - isn't that the point - to get a good seal to reduce potential transmission? I have to get right up in peoples faces so we're being told the masks have to be really tight, no gapes etc.

OP’s posts: |
Mooooooon Thu 09-Apr-20 20:47:36

I hate them too. It’s getting easier as I get used to it but I have to make a conscious effort to slow my breathing down. It feels like suffocating.
And my goggles steam up.
But at least we now have PPE unlike the last few weeks.

Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 20:55:12

We’re being told the surgical masks won’t stop us catching it but it will stop us spreading it. It’s not really possible to get a good seal in those masks if your face shape doesn’t suit them.

cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 20:58:56

Are you wearing the ones with ties or ear loops? We've been to,d only to wear the ones with ties as you can get a much better seal on them. It's also the only mask type we have for covid patients so they better help reduce me catching it!

OP’s posts: |
Indella Thu 09-Apr-20 21:00:29

Ear loops. They are all we have.

Muchtoomuchtodo Thu 09-Apr-20 21:01:14

You will never get a tight seal with a surgical mask.
That’s not what they’re for.

cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 21:01:31

Crikey, yes they are not the best. Only work for 15 mins as well I believe.

OP’s posts: |
cantbreatheenough Thu 09-Apr-20 21:02:33

Not a tight seal like a FFP3 but sealed around the face with no gapes.

OP’s posts: |
Frlrlrubert Thu 09-Apr-20 21:18:06

I used to work in animal research so have worn various masks all day every day for a decade and I'm honestly astonished at the shitty, not up to standard, badly fitting masks NHS workers are having to put up with.

I bet none of you have been face fit tested either, it's appalling.

I want to thank you all again for risking your health for the rest of us putting up with this awful standard of PPE, and I hope that the meagre level of extra protection they offer you is enough to keep you safe and well.

Mooooooon Thu 09-Apr-20 21:22:21

We’re out of tie ones and down to loop ones now. They don’t fit my face and either rub my eyes or gap at the edges.

SeasonallySnowyPeasant Thu 09-Apr-20 21:26:59

@Indella would these help you and your colleagues? I’d gladly get sewing if they would.

CoronaIsComing Thu 09-Apr-20 21:28:19

Could you maybe take one home and try wearing it for short periods while you’re more relaxed to try and get used to it? Sorry, I don’t have experience of wearing them so that might not be helpful.

NZlife Thu 09-Apr-20 21:36:22

These surgical masks will only prevent 'droplet transmission' there's little point having a proper tight seal around it as it won't make any difference. If you're struggling to breathe or feel like you're struggling with one on then I would loosen it slightly under the chin. I'm used to wearing one as I work in theatres and was in orthopaedic theatres for 5 years so the surgical masks I'm fine with, the FFP3 ones and how they squash down on my nose however is another matter!
The official PPE guidelines I believe say that you only need the FFP3 masks for aerosol generating procedures so the surgical face masks should be fine protecting you when you're just talking to a patient. If you find yourself getting out of breath while talking then slow down, it might sound silly but just take a few seconds to slow down your talking smile

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