Implications of face mask use in diverse populations: Physiological, psychological, and functional perspectives


  • Simaporn Promsarn Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Walaiporn Wongsrisakunkaew Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand


Face mask implications, respiratory health, viral transmission


This review critically examines the effect of prolonged face mask use across diverse populations, which is a crucial aspect of global health strategies during infectious disease outbreaks, particularly the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The synthesis of research findings highlights the physical, psychological, and social implications of face mask use among healthcare workers, individuals with preexisting health conditions, the older adults, children, and people with disabilities. Healthcare workers, using masks for a long term, report symptoms including headaches, skin irritation, and diminished quality of life. Individuals with respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma experience intensified difficulties, underlining the need for tailored mask guidelines for such groups. For older adults, masks increase exertional discomfort after physical activity, whereas in children, particularly those with special needs, maskwearing poses unique behavioral challenges. The psychological dimension, including “mask fatigue” has emerges as a significant concern, affecting mental well-being and adherence to mask protocols. In addition, the review addresses sociocultural challenges, particularly for those with hearing impairments, emphasizing the necessity for inclusive mask designs. This comprehensive analysis underscores the need for healthcare professionals to recognize and address the varied challenges posed by face mask use. This review advocates for evidence-based, inclusive public health guidelines and the development of masks that cater to diverse needs. This study highlights the importance of continued research in optimizing mask design and usage policies, balancing infection control efficacy with minimal adverse effects on different population segments.


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How to Cite

Promsarn S, Wongsrisakunkaew W. Implications of face mask use in diverse populations: Physiological, psychological, and functional perspectives. Chula Med J [Internet]. 2024 May 2 [cited 2024 May 19];68(2). Available from:

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