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No, graphic does not show people who developed staph infections from wearing masks

A graphic posted on Facebook on 18 February 2021 claims that face masks can cause staphylococcus infection. 

“Staphylococcus from masks,” it says. It shows five photos of people with marks and sores on their faces.

“Also serious lung infections and loss of consciousness due to restricted airflow from wearing masks.”

The graphic has been viewed more than 270,000 times so far.

The World Health Organization advises that wearing medical and cloth masks in public helps reduce the transmission of Covid-19. 

Staphylococcus, also known as “staph”, is a group of bacteria that can cause infections, most commonly of the skin.

Does the graphic show people who got staph infections on their faces from wearing masks? We checked.


None of pictures depicts staph infection

A reverse image search shows that none of the five photos shows a person with staph infection.

The top left image started circulating in August 2020 after a teenage girl in France claimed to have suffered from an allergic reaction after wearing a face mask for an extended period. 

The bottom left image is a Getty Images stock photo. According to its caption, it shows chickenpox

The top right image was published on the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne website. It shows eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin disease. 

The middle right image is of a healthcare worker in Italy. It appears in a tweet showing the faces of doctors and nurses after working long shifts in intensive care, wearing personal protective equipment.



The bottom right image was published on Medical News Today and shows malar rash, which can be caused by underlying conditions such as lupus, Lyme disease, sun exposure and rosacea

Staph infection develops from open wound

Experts at the Meedan Digital Health Lab say that while staph infection from wearing a mask is possible, it is very rare

“In order to develop a staph infection, the person wearing the mask would have to have an open lesion or untreated wound on their face, but even then, it very rarely happens,” they say.

They recommend washing hands, cleaning and bandaging wounds on faces, and cleaning masks regularly to reduce the risk of staph infection.

And Africa Check has found that there is no evidence that wearing a mask will reduce blood oxygen levels or cause lung disease

A viral graphic does not show people who developed staph infections from wearing masks. While staph infection from masks is possible, it is very rare and requires there to already be an open wound on the face.

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