Melbourne nurses have encouraged Victorians to abide by the laws and wear a mask while in public areas, saying the light face coverings are nothing compared to the health workers’ full duty masks they would wear.
Numerous nurses operating in the emergency and intensive care units in Melbourne have told the ABC that they suffer from swelling and strain injuries as a result of wearing face masks and helmets for hours on end.
Given the pain, for coronavirus, nurses must wear the masks and other PPE all the time they are in service.
With Royal Melbourne emergency department nurse Mel Pearson telling 7.30 they are dehydrated as a result, they can’t even remove the masks to take a drink of water.
“It’s a lot harder to just go pee if we want to,” she said. “We have pressure injuries on our forehead and bruising on our chins and our noses.
“Seeing people in the community complain about their masks that they have to wear for half an hour to go to the shops is a little bit disheartening when our masks actually cause us physical injuries, just to keep us and our patients safe.”
ICU nurse unit manager Sam Bates works at the Footscray and Sunshine Hospitals in Western Health and said she is sick of hearing anti-maskers moaning about the laws.
“I don’t care how uncomfortable you think your face mask is. I don’t care if you think this is a conspiracy theory or some made-up hoax. I can tell you it’s very real,” she told the ABC.
“I’m wearing one all day. I don’t want to wear one all day. So please, if you have to wear one when you go out in public, just for half an hour or an hour, please do so. Every little bit helps.”
Health care workers sporting injured faces from PPE have become a common sight around the world as they work long shifts to save lives.