Experts warn people with asthma not to wear face masks

The government and other health experts have warned people with asthma to avoid wearing face coverings.

This comes after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recommended that people wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

But according to experts, face coverings and masks may make it 'harder to breathe' for those who suffer with asthma or respiratory problems.

One doctor even labelled the situation a 'catch-22'.

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The latest advice from the government recommends that if you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

They add: "This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

"Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with."

However, they urged that face coverings should not be used by children under the age of two or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.

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This includes primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

One of the UK's leading charities, Asthma UK also backed the government's advice, adding: "For some people with asthma, wearing a face covering might not be easy. It could make it feel harder to breathe.

"The government has advised that people with respiratory conditions don’t need to wear face coverings, so if you are finding it hard, then don’t wear one."

And Dr Purvi Parikh, an immunology and infectious disease specialist at New York University, described the situation as a 'catch-22'.

She told MailOnline: “Those with lung conditions are in a catch-22 because they probably need the mask more than the average person but it can be challenging to breathe.

“A tight mask on your face can make anyone have trouble breathing. I even get it when I'm treating my patients.

“We're approaching summer-time so it's hot outside, and when you're consistently breathing hot air on top of your own breath that can be quite uncomfortable.

“It’s uncomfortable to breathe hot air because we're used to being in a temperate environment.

“For some asthmatics warm air is a trigger and can cause asthma attacks, so for them it's unfortunately a perfect storm.”