PEOPLE who have asthma or other lung conditions should not wear a face mask if it makes it more difficult to breathe, experts have warned.
New rules in place today mean that people going to supermarkets and shops will have to wear masks or coverings.
While many shops say they will not police this, others have already been seen asking customers who are not covering up to leave the premises.
Government advice also states that masks and coverings should be worn on public transport.
This includes trains, buses, ferries, and aircraft to prevent a second peak of coronavirus in the UK.
If people don’t adhere to the rules they could be slapped with a £100 fine.
Yesterday Public Health England also announced that children should not wear face masks as they are a choking hazard.
Asthma UK’s head of health advice, Jessica Kirby said if you have asthma then you may not be able to wear a face covering.
“It’s a good idea to try it out at home or on a short walk around the block first. If it feels fine, then you can wear it, and it won’t harm you.
“But if it makes it feel harder to breathe, then the UK Government has advised that you don’t have to wear one.
“You could try a few different types to see if there is one that suits you, but if you feel breathless or suffocated while wearing a face covering, then don’t wear one.”
She added that people are worried about being publicly confronted if they are not wearing a mask.
This is while the charity’s head of policy, Sarah MacFadyen said while it’s important for most people to wear masks and coverings, people with respiratory conditions might struggle to breathe.
“As face coverings become mandatory in shops in England, we urge the public to think twice before they judge someone for not wearing a face mask.
“Not all health conditions are visible and people with lung conditions have already told us that they’ve been publicly confronted by strangers about not wearing one, leaving them feeling anxious and humiliated.”
If you have a lung condition and find wearing a face covering leaves you feeling suffocated, the charityhas produced a downloadable graphic that you can show on your phone or other device that explains why you’re not wearing a mask.
The government has also rolled out an exemption card so that people that cannot wear a mask do not suffer abuse.
The Government has made the cards available to disabled people and others who have health reasons which make wearing a mask difficult after campaigners warned about the risk of abuse.
The official card introduced last night can be printed out and stuck to a person’s phone or pinned to clothing so people know they have a reason not to be wearing a mask.
For people who suffer from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or lung cancer, wearing masks can be particularly difficult.
Official guidance from the government states that if you are under the age of 11 then you will be exempt from wearing a mask.
You are also exempt if you are an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment and if you are providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services.
Other people who are exempt include constables or police community support officers acting in the course of their duty as well as emergency responders such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty.
The Government has published a how-to guide to help people make their own facial coverings – and stresses people should not be buying medical grade masks needed by NHS staff and social care workers.