Kids can and should wear masks, say children's hospital doctors

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Masks can be safely worn by all Latvian residents, including children, said medical staff from the Rīga Children's clinical university hospital in a statement December 9.

Correct use of face masks in any place where more than one person is present significantly reduces the risk of infection, according to the hospital representatives. Of course, there are very young children and people in our society who, for objective reasons, cannot control their behavior, so the government has made exceptions.

But children copy adults, and if a family accepts masks as an integral part of life of the moment, children from a very early age will accept it.

Although children normally get lighter symptoms of COVID-19 than adults, they may be carriers and spread the disease. Distancing and wearing masks is meant to protect us all, not to limit our freedom, said doctor Renāte Snipe.

It is possible that the child might have some discomfort at first, but one gets used quickly and it doesn't bother them.

The sooner everyone will take accountability for observing safety measures – not gathering, using face masks correctly – the faster the spread of infection will be reduced and children will be able to walk around without a mask.

The stories that masks are harmful are false news, and spreading such information is disrespectful to anyone who, by their responsible behavior, does everything to limit the spread of infection, said the doctor.

“As an example, I can mention the fact that everyone knows – surgeons and anesthesiologists in the surgery room, where they spend long hours, have been working in masks for nearly a hundred years. At this time, they must constantly focus and make responsible decisions because the patient's life depends on it. If the masks created chronic hypoxia for them, as alleged by false news distributors, how would they be able to perform their duties qualitatively? And no one would be prepared to work in these professions because – who would choose a job where health is so threatened every day?”

Children suffering from oncological diseases and receiving chemotherapy during periods where their immunity is very weak, both themselves and their parents wear masks to protect the child from a variety of infections, and parents have never objected or claimed that medics pose a risk to their health.

“Then why do parents of healthy children see a threat?” asked the doctor.

“We encourage parents to teach children how to properly put on and remove a mask, how to wear it properly so that mouth and nose are covered, and to change regularly because once the mask has become humid, it becomes less air-permeable. I see among my patients that if parents are responsible for wearing masks, children who are 5 years old are happy to do so,” said Renāte Snipe.

“It is a change of habits, but if we want the spread of infection to stop, it must be understood that everyone should start with themselves, their family – spend a lot of time outside in the fresh air, communicate with friends remotely, and if you have to stay indoors with someone other than a family member, everyone needs to wear masks correctly.”

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