News spreads like wildfire. But fake news spreads like a virus, infecting everything that comes in its contact. In fact, once a piece of information goes viral online, reactions from the public can make it difficult to determine whether it’s even real.
This is especially dangerous in the current situation where any bad news about COVID-19 can create panic among people. One viral video in particular seems to have done just that.It has shocked netizens with its claims of worms in imported face masks.
So is it fact or just another reason for us to learn how to prevent fake news? Here’s the truth.
How To Prevent Falling For Fake News: The Truth About “Worms” In Masks
Image source: Screengrab from YouTube / Microbehunter
The video that is circulating on TikTok shows worms moving in masks imported from China. One can clearly the worm when the mask is placed on top of hot water vapour. Of course, this horrified netizens.
But in immediate response to this, the COVID-19 Handling Task Force stated that the news about worms in masks was, in fact, fake. What appeared to be “worms” seen in masks made from China were actually just fibre from the mask.
YouTuber Microbehunter also posted a video on how the fibres in the mask can look like caterpillars at first glance because of how they move. But this is completely normal because of how its movement is influenced by water vapour or humidity.
“These fibres appear to be able to move as if they were alive but are actually not living things because there are laws of physics behind their movements,” explains Microbehunter in his video.
Another article entitled “Face Masks Don’t Contain Black Worms” that was posted on Misbar.com also refutes the claims of worms in masks. On the same website, professor and consultant Saad Al-Sharif also says that black worms in face masks are just fake news.
Face masks are normally sterilised when they are made. This is to ensure that no organisms will affect our health, including worms.
So if you want to know how to prevent yourself from believing in fake news, a little bit of research will help you greatly.
Other Fake News About Face Masks
Getting people to learn how to prevent falling for fake news has become a bit tricky. Aside from worms, there are other hoaxes surrounding masks. This has especially increased during the pandemic.
The importance of how to prevent yourself from believing fake news has arisen due to these mask controversies. Most of whom are related to the supposed dangers of using a mask for long periods of time. This is happening even without any reliable scientific evidence that reveals how dangerous masks can be for our health.
On how to prevent fake news from spreading further, here are other news pieces about masks that are not real:
Image source: iStock
1. Wearing masks can cause cancer
There has been alarming news circulating in social media about how masks can cause cancer. But no matter how viral this news may be, it is absolutely untrue.
Dr Deca Medika H, Sp.PG explains that wearing a mask does not reduce the oxygen level in our bodies. The body will still be able to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) through the mask. Whether you use a cloth mask, medical mask or an N95 mask, oxygen or CO2 can still penetrate the its layer. This means CO2 buildup is impossible.
Only a small amount of COs is re-inhaled while wearing masks. But our bodies will automatically get rid of it again through several mechanisms. So while it might be uncomfortable to use a mask, it is unlikely that it will give you cancer.
Image source: iStock
2. Using masks for too long can trigger hypoxia
Another way on how to prevent fake news from reaching you is to always check for facts from reliable sources. This means a single Facebook post should not be enough for you to immediately trust.
One Facebook account for instance, claimed that wearing masks for a long time can cause hypoxia. This is a condition where the body is deprived of adequate supply of oxygen.
ENT specialist in head and neck surgery from UGM Academic Hospital (Indonesia), Dr Mahatma Sotya Bawono denies this. He says that using masks will not cause CO2 respiratory exhaust, gas poisoning, and/or oxygen deficiency.
He clarifies that wearing a mask is safe for your health and only works to protect your further.
In an operation that lasted several hours, there were no cases of doctors experiencing carbon dioxide poisoning or lack of oxygen because of masks. Not even to the point of fainting due to poor air circulation.
Remember how to prevent yourself from trusting fake news and don’t forget to wear your masks properly to avoid oxygen deprivation.
Image courtesy: iStock
3. Masks can lead to poisoning
Another example of why it’s important that we learn how to prevent falling for fake news are claims that wearing masks can cause CO2 poisoning.
Pulmonary specialist at the Unhas Hospital (Indonesia), Dr Arif Santoso SpP (K) PhD, rubbishes this rumour. Wearing a face mask for long periods of time will not lead to CO2 poisoning, he clarifies.
Pediatric infectious disease specialist Matthew Thomas, MD, also claims this is false. He explains that when we exhale, carbon dioxide leaves the lungs and our bodies through our mouths or noses. Carbon dioxide is a gas that consists of molecules that are small enough to pass through many materials. This, including the materials used to make face masks.
So despite such ‘shocking news’ going viral, it’s important to remember how to prevent believing in fake news. Check the facts first and don’t immediately believe everything you see on social media.
It is also our responsibility as parents to teach our kids how to prevent falling for fake news. Alongside online safety, teach your kids about checking all the facts first before they share anything on social media.
Don’t forget to do your research and always stay safe!