Mask Breath and Swamp Mouth

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Mask Breath and Swamp Mouth

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In 2020 it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 + Celsius) in August in the eastern area of San Diego, California. I was working as a delivery driver for Amazon delivering packages around greater San Diego County. Having been about six months into the pandemic, masks were required pretty much everywhere. For health and safety, we were required to wear those masks while delivering.
The picture above shows me wearing one of the masks which is made of cotton and double layered. These masks have a sleeve inside to insert a filter. Elastic strips with a stopper on the end goes around the ears to hold the mask over the nose and mouth. Because this mask irritated my ears, I took a bread wrapper twist and hooked it to the back and tied it so it wouldn't sit on my ears and was instead tied around the back of my head.
This jerry rigged mask led to a tighter fit on my face. This in turn led to sweat and moisture collecting in the fabric of the mask throughout the day which led to an extremely pungent stench because of the sweat, mucus from a runny nose, and stinky breath. The other issue that caused more distress was the soaked mask. Especially on this particularly hot day, I was essentially breathing through a wet rag. Breathing through my mouth was the only option because my nose wasn't strong enough to draw in enough air. Climbing up stairs and up and down drive ways made it more difficult to breath. I had to take intermittent breaks to pull down the mask to get air and breath fresh air. Needless to say, mints, gum, and breath freshener was regularly on hand after this day. Along with lots and lots of water.

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This item was submitted on May 24, 2022 by Bryce Griffith using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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