LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- As Nevadans settle into the second week of the statewide mask mandate, doctors across the valley said they have had patients calling clinics requesting for a doctor's note for a medical exemption.
Viewers called and emailed concerns that they have trouble breathing through a mask.
"The biggest question coming in, 'Can I get out of wearing a mask?' My answer, nine out of ten times, no, you can not," said Dr. Constantine George of concierge private practice Epitomedical.
George said he makes sure patients with asthma, COPD or other medical conditions explore different types of masks and make sure they properly fit, before ruling out masks as a very last resort.
After all, patients with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to developing severe symptoms if they do contract COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone should wear a mask except very young children, those who cannot manually put on a mask due to a health condition or disability or those with "shortness of breath."
Always consult with your doctor before assuming you qualify for an exemption, George said.
Other doctors who treat many high-risk patients offer a very cautious approach -- people who have breathing issues should avoid public spaces, anyway, if they can not wear a mask.
The CDC provides a list of people who are more susceptible to complications from contracting COVID-19.
"That list looks very similar to the list of individuals who cannot wear a face covering," said Dr. Christina Madison of Roseman University of Health Sciences. "When you look at it based on your risk, it's best if you don't go in public spaces... you could be around someone who otherwise looks healthy and well, and they could be spreading the virus to you," Dr. Madison said.
Madison said she recommends those with underlying health conditions to avoid people who are not in their family unit, and utilize options to avoid going into businesses, such as curbside service or delivery.