Social distancing has been the response to COVID-19, but with that comes the loss of students’ physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The average person is probably tired of hearing about social distancing by now, but that could come from knowing the possible dangers from practicing social distancing.
Depending on the material and thickness of a mask, the main line of defense can, surprisingly, cause harm to the human body in the long run. The likelihood is not high, but there is always a risk. It is possible for someone to pass out from lack of oxygen, but only if the mask seriously prevented oxygen intake. Most cloth masks allow a decent amount of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide release. The risk for inhaling carbon dioxide is still present.
According to the article, “Does Wearing a Face Mask Reduce Oxygen—and Can It Increase CO2 Levels? Here's What Experts Say” by Claire Gillespie, she said, “In rare cases, it can actually be dangerous, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They say that inhaling high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) may be life-threatening. Hypercapnia (carbon dioxide toxicity) can also cause headache, vertigo, double vision, inability to concentrate, tinnitus (hearing a noise, like a ringing or buzzing, that’s not caused by an outside source), seizures, or suffocation due to displacement of air.”
Other risks from wearing a mask include keeping unnecessary oils and bacteria against one's face. This can increase acne spots and infections, such as germs spreading from the mouth and then being absorbed into the skin. To prevent getting sick from a mask, it is recommended to wash them after every use.
According to, "Can Cloth Face Masks Get You Sick?” by Joeli Poole, he said, “. . .experts say that wearing a fabric mask for long periods of time- or for several days at a time- can allow bacteria to build up and actually make you sick. Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, a Pulmonologist at CHI Memorial, says it’s important to wash those cloth masks every few days. “
Humans are social creatures that require relationships with other people. Social distancing prevents this from happening and can take a mental and physical toll on people. Being distant from others promotes loneliness, isolation and discourages social skills. Many Coastal Carolina students agree and share their personal experience with this issue.
“Social distancing has had a huge impact on my life, especially being pregnant. This is the time I expected to be showered with love from my friends and family. Everyone is so focused on making sure the baby and I are safely distanced from everyone else I really haven’t been able to spend time with anyone,” said Chrissandra Dandy, a junior English major. “The impact of having to distance mentally and the hormones that your body produce during pregnancy definitely don’t agree with each other. Also, carrying a whole life inside of me and having to cover my face really effects being able to breath properly, so it has caused me to want to stay home more.”
Another student, Nicole Vreen has also been struggling with the loneliness of isolation.
Vreen said, “Throughout the pandemic, I think one of the things I was struggling with most was the isolation aspect. I would try to find anything to do to get out of my house, things like walking my dog, or even just sitting outside because quarantining had drained me so emotionally, there’d be days where I just wouldn’t leave my room.”
Although social distancing has brought about many new challenges, students and others have expressed their determination to get through the difficulties of COVID-19 and hope for the future.