戴口罩對孩童有害嗎?專家:目前尚無科學證據|Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID? (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

【看CP學英文】孩童為防範染上COVID-19而戴口罩,是否會對他們造成傷害?不會!目前除了毫無根據的假設之外,並無科學證據顯示戴口罩會對孩童健康造成損害。

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID? No, there is no scientific evidence showing masks cause harm to kids’ health despite baseless claims suggesting otherwise.

在美國許多剛開學的學校迎來新一波疫情之際,這類指控也在社群媒體上流傳—尤其在那些沒有強制戴口罩令的地區。

The claims are circulating on social media and elsewhere just as virus outbreaks are hitting many reopened U.S. schools — particularly those without mask mandates.

其中,某些無根據的論點認為:口罩潮濕會導致細菌增生或產生過多二氧化碳。然而,專家表示只要定期清洗口罩就可以保持安全乾淨。

Among the unfounded arguments: Masks can foster germs if they become moist or cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. But experts say washing masks routinely keep them safe and clean.

某些論點則指出,在同學和教師都戴著口罩的情形下,年輕孩童將失去重要的視覺和社交線索,從而影響孩童的學習和發展。不認同的人則表示,既然有視覺和聽覺障礙的孩童可以學會適應,一般孩童也可以做到。

Some argue that young children miss important visual and social cues that enhance learning and development when their classmates and teachers are wearing masks. But others note that children with vision or hearing impairment learn to adapt and that other kids can, too.

任職於梅奧兒童醫療中心(Mayo Clinic Children’s Center)的重症照護和感染控制專家Emily Levy表示,「我們不能確定口罩對孩童發展完全沒有影響,但我們知道不試圖防止病毒傳播將產生不利的影響」。

“We don’t know for sure that masks have no developmental effects but we do know that there are adverse effects from not trying to stop transmission,’’ said Dr. Emily Levy, critical care and infection control expert at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

有強而有力的證據指出,在學校戴口罩的孩童可以減少傳播COVID-19病毒給其他小孩和師長。

There’s strong evidence masking children in schools can reduce COVID-19 transmission to other children and adults.

在亞利桑那州馬里科帕縣的166間學校中,沒有實施口罩令的學校COVID-19疫情比其他學校嚴重兩倍,該縣公衛部門的醫療主任Rebecca Sunenshine指出。

Across 166 schools in Maricopa County, Arizona, COVID-19 outbreaks are two times more common than those without mask mandates, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the county’s public health department.

包括北卡羅來納州在內的其他省份也有學校研究發現,戴口罩可以大幅降低COVID-19病毒傳播機率,尤其是搭配社交距離和其他防疫措施的情形下。

Studies from school districts in other states including North Carolina have also found that masking can greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission rates, especially when it’s combined with physical distancing and other prevention measures.

辛辛那提兒童醫院的疾病控制及預防主任Joshua Schaffzin指出,「關於防疫我們知道一點,沒有一種單一的干預措施可以取得勝利」。

“One thing that we know about prevention, about infection control is that there isn’t a single intervention that will win the day,’’ said Dr. Joshua Schaffzin, director of infection prevention and control at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

但他點出,有大量證據表明戴口罩是讓學校更加安全的關鍵。

But he noted there’s plenty of evidence that masking is a key component in making schools safer.

若想避免肌膚敏感,醫生建議可以定期清洗口罩,確保它們尺寸合適,並挑選採用柔軟、透氣布料製作的口罩。

To avoid skin irritation, doctors suggest washing masks regularly, making sure they fit properly and picking masks made with soft, breathable fabric.