• Tracy Southwick

Back to school: How to mask more safely

While at this writing, our government and school entities continue to argue over mask mandates, you or your children may find that you will be wearing masks as required, or as you choose, in certain circumstances and locations.


For this article, please know that I am in no way trying to sway your opinion on masks, we all have our own reasons for the choices we make, but I genuinely want to help people be aware of, and reduce, any negative effects from wearing masks.


In that vein, I would like to begin by sharing some anecdotes related to my experience with masks and the health issues that have arisen in my clients as direct results of wearing masks. Of course, I understand that many will be required to, or choose to, mask going forward, so I will follow this with my suggestions for healthier mask-donning techniques. Please note that this list does not include the psychological ramifications I have seen, especially with children, from being required to cover their faces.


Here are some of the issues I have seen with my clients:

  • “Maskne” – acne or rashes around the mouth and nose. This is often painful and severe, to the point of extreme infection with cysts surrounding the mouth and radiating to the cheeks.

  • Bacterial pneumonia – An ER doctor told my client who had just been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia that it was rising worldwide directly due to mask usage. (Many people are not aware of the importance of sanitizing cloth masks after each wearing so moist bacteria living in and on the masks is deposited directly into the lungs with each and every breath.)

  • RSV - This is on the rise in children, as well as adults, and there is much speculation that this is a result of immune dysfunction due to our practices over the past year and a half that have led to our immune systems becoming weaker.

  • Dental issues – The increase in temperature in the mouth can alter the pH of the saliva leading to decay.

  • Students consistently scoring poorly at the end of long test-taking sessions when wearing a mask versus not wearing one.

  • Kids feeling dizzy and faint while exercising with masks.

  • Chronic cough while wearing a mask.


My suggestions for healthier masking:

  1. Avoid masks made with synthetic materials. Disposable masks and most inserts release toxic gasses as you breathe warm, humid air into them. The toxins can affect the skin on your face and your mouth and are breathed into your lungs.

  2. Opt for an organic cotton or linen mask. I found many options on Etsy (and you support small businesses there!).

  3. Wash your cloth mask daily in hot water with a non-toxic cleaner. We love Branch Basics™ natural cleaners. You can add some vinegar to kill pathogens, or just boil the mask in water for at least 3 minutes. Be careful of color-bleed, though.

  4. Spray your clean mask with probiotics to help improve health and keep any bad germs at bay. We love PB2 Power (see this month’s special here) before each use and after an hour or two of usage. P2Power’s ‘Breathe’ formula is perfect for spraying on your mask. We also carry their formula for healthy skin which can be used along with masks to help your skin better cope with the complications of wearing masks. The mouthwash formula provides probiotics for your mouth to help ensure the environment in your mouth is healthier for mask use.

  5. Do not use the mask any longer than you absolutely need to. When you are alone - in your car or walking down an empty street or in your home - wearing a mask isn’t doing you any good. The mask is only increasing the temperature and pH of your mouth (which can lead to tooth decay), as well as creating a situation where you are re-inhaling any viruses and bacteria that may be in your system and, of course, always making it harder for you to breathe.

We have been enjoying seeing your smiles now at Heights of Health! We respect everyone’s choice to mask or not to mask. As always, if you feel ill or are uncomfortable being around anyone who is not wearing a mask, we offer remote visits and are very happy to assist you in that manner.


We will continue to use all of the health protocols in our offices that we have already been using such as air purifiers and safe and effective cleaning procedures with P2Power probiotics and non-toxic solutions. Lastly, as you know, the most important protection from any disease is your own strong immune system. We love helping our clients work to achieve this goal.


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