NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - One exception to the mask order includes any person with a medical condition or disability.
At Nacogdoches Pulmonary & Sleep Associates, both doctors require their patients to wear a mask upon arrival. With a statewide order in place to wear masks, there are a few medical conditions that may keep people from wearing one.
“From purely the respiratory standpoint, we are talking asthma, COPD and anything that makes people feel short of breath a lot. For example, heart failure. Several things can make you feel that way,” said Dr. Ahammed Hashim.
Medical professionals say people who are claustrophobic may find wearing a mask to be difficult as well.
“Patients who have PTSD, they feel like they are wearing like a gas chamber. People have mentioned that also. There is not absolutely condition that prevent them from wearing a mask. It is their feeling of suffocation. So, when they wear a mask, they feel like they cannot breathe,” said Dr. Binusha Moitheennazima.
Although you must be cleared by a medical provider in order to be classified as exempt, Binusha says the conditions are minimal.
“If somebody is absolutely allergic to the material of the mask, that’s one absolute condition where they cannot tolerate the mask,” said Binusha.
There are other helpful alternatives for masks with different materials.
“The mask I normally wear is called an N95 mask. Those can be pretty hard, and they fit tightly on our faces,” said Hashim. “A regular mask, surgical mask, even a cotton or any kind of cloth on the face is very effective in reducing the spread of the virus, if you have that problem and don’t know it.”
Binusha says she encourages her patients to persevere and try to wear a mask.
“There is absolutely no medical condition which says that you don’t have to wear the mask. Yes, there are situations which makes it difficult. Please, work around it,” said Binusha. “You can always wear a mask or a scarf to try to protect yourself and fellow community.”
Dr. Ahammed says a medical provider will have to validate your medical condition, before signing off on it to issue an exemption form.