In recent months there have been repeated discussions about the benefits and harms of a mouth-nose-cover2 (MNC). For example, the recommendation changed from “counterproductive for the general population” to “unnecessary”, to “possibly protective”, to “protective”, to “urgent recommendation” and finally to “compulsory wearing”.
It is not surprising that this discussion is not only scientific, but also political and emotional.
The obligation to wear a mask has now been extended to students of different ages in many federal states.
But what about the assessment of the proportionality and, above all, of the safety of the use of an MNC for children and young people?
This compilation highlights various aspects which require the greatest possible attention.
Not only can a health risk for children and adolescents not be ruled out, it is even highly possible according to our findings. In order to demonstrate this in a comprehensible way, three questions are addressed below:
- are existing studies applicable to children and young people?
- is there a direct health risk from wearing MNC?
- is there an indirect health risk due to contamination?
The available data indicate a very probable and unacceptable risk, especially for children and young people.
It is not known which types of masks are used, what pressure differences occur and / or whether any previous illnesses exist. Harmful effects on health cannot be ruled out.
Children wear the masks partly without interruption and even longer than adults should in professional life (within the framework of occupational health rules and regulations).
In accordance with the prevention principles, the organisational and technical possibilities should first be exhausted before the wearing of an MNC for protection against SARS-CoV-2 can be considered.
Based on the current status and feedback from everyday school life, there is potential for optimisation here.
A strict BAN on masks for children and adolescents is therefore indicated until scientific studies can sufficiently prove their harmlessness.