Mask-associated headache is more frequent in certain health workers due to the use of filter masks, according to an article published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The cross-sectional study analysed data from 306 health workers (physicians, nurses, or other health workers). Each completed an online questionnaire during the period of maximum incidence of COVID-19. The questionnaire collected information on the type and pattern of mask use, characteristics of pre-existing headache, as well as the self-perceived impact of headache on social, occupational, family, personal aspects, and work performance.
The association between the appearance of de novo headache in health professionals and face mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that 158 participants reported de novo headache. The occurrence of a headache was independently associated with the use of a filter mask, being a nurse or another health worker, or having a history of asthma. There were differences in headache intensity according to the type of mask used, with filter masks associated with worse outcomes.
Given that the use of face masks is now widespread, it is important to promote prevention and protection strategies that guarantee the safety of workers, the authors conclude.