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Is wearing a face mask safe for people with epilepsy?

Asadi-Pooya, AA; Cross, JH; (2020) Is wearing a face mask safe for people with epilepsy? Acta Neurologica Scandinavica , 142 (4) pp. 314-316. 10.1111/ane.13316. Green open access

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Abstract

Since December 2019, the world has been experiencing a catastrophic pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV2. This virus primarily targets the human respiratory system. Available information suggests that people with epilepsy (PWE) are not at higher risk of being infected by the virus, nor of more severe COVID-19 manifestations, as a result of the epilepsy alone. However, COVID-19 is a serious disease that currently has no effective treatment or vaccine. A face mask is probably effective in preventing the spread of a respiratory pathogen, at least to some extent. So, should we recommend wearing a face mask to all during a pandemic of respiratory infectious disease (e.g., COVID-19) without any precautions or exemptions? While concrete evidence is lacking, if we consider that wearing a face mask may simulate hyperventilation, at least to some extent, we would probably avoid recommending this practice indiscriminately to all PWE. On the other hand, in the absence of any proven treatment or vaccine to combat COVID-19, prevention is the best available strategy and it is probably not reasonable to suggest avoid wearing face masks in PWE under any circumstances. Logically, PWE do not need to wear a face mask most of the time, as long as there is no close contact with others, especially during intense physical activities such as exercise. To the contrary, it is probably more advantageous to wear a face mask in crowded locations, with intermittent breaks in safe locations, away from others.

Type: Article
Title: Is wearing a face mask safe for people with epilepsy?
Location: Denmark
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ane.13316
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ane.13316
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: COVID, Coronavirus, Epilepsy, Mask, Seizure
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Neurosciences Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106365
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