August 2, 2020


Dear Brandon,

My state just started a mask law and if I want to go ANYWHERE, I have to wear a mask. I HATE IT! I feel like I’m suffocating, I get all hot and itchy, and I can’t breathe! I don’t get it – kids aren’t even getting sick with the Coronavirus, so why do WE have to wear masks?! My mom said we might have to wear masks when school starts in the fall. I’m going to look SO DUMB! What should I do?

Major Mask Mayhem

Hey Major Mask Mayhem,

Okay, I feel this one. I live with my grandparents, who are elderly and more at risk for getting really sick from the Coronavirus than kids like us are. So, I’ve been wearing a mask since the beginning of the pandemic. And at first, I had all the frustrations you do. Masks are SUPER annoying when you’re not used to them. But the good news is…I eventually got used to them.

As far as suffocating and feeling like you can’t breathe, that’s your brain panicking and saying you can’t breathe because something is over your face. But think about it. Doctors and nurses wear masks for entire twelve-hour shifts and they’re fine. I have a friend with cystic fibrosis (which is a serious lung disease) AND asthma, and she has always worn a mask through flu season with no problems.

But my friend gave me some tips. One is to try different styles. Some masks are more breathable than others. Some are more comfortable than others. Maybe you don’t like the elastic bands around your ears—so try the kind that ties behind your head.

She also said to stay hydrated. Meaning drink lots of water. When you’re wearing a mask, you can get hotter than usual AND you might drink less than usual (because duh…a mask is covering your mouth) and those two things can make you light-headed, breathless, and stuff. It isn’t because you’re not getting enough oxygen. It’s because you’re not getting enough water!

My friend says to practice wearing the mask when you’re at home just chilling, like watching TV or scrolling on your phone. If your brain can get used to it during down-time, you’ll be less likely to panic when you’re out in public with it.

The thing is, wearing a mask shows respect for other people. Sure, kids are extremely low-risk to get sick with the Coronavirus. BUT, we CAN spread it. Like I said, I live with my grandparents. Maybe you also live with someone who’s higher risk. Or you could even spread germs to someone you don’t know. If you could prevent other people from getting sick by doing something simple like wearing a mask, why not?

Also remember, this is gotten SO serious that your state has made it a LAW to wear them!

As for wearing one at school, I mean…everyone will be doing it. It won’t be optional for anyone. So no one’s going to think you’re weird. I say use it as an opportunity to express yourself. There are all kinds of masks out there that make a statement. They also show your love for favorite TV shows, video games, movies, sports, animals, you name it!

And hey—if you get a giant zit anywhere below your forehead, no one will be able to see it. 😀

I hope that helps. How do you guys feel about wearing masks? Any tips to make them more comfortable?