A woman wearing a face mask to a farmers market during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

Wearing Face Masks in Warm Weather: How to Stay Safe

Jul 2 2020
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face masks should be worn at any public place where social distancing is hard to maintain. This includes outdoor areas. One of the best ways you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is by wearing a face mask. And now with states reopening, wearing a face mask is even more important.

However, in the humid and hot conditions of summer, wearing a face mask outside can be uncomfortable. We’ve got some tips for you on how to wear face masks in warm weather. This way you can stay safe while helping stop the spread of COVID-19.

First Tip: Pick a breathable material for your face mask  

Airflow and breathing can be disrupted if your face covering is too thick and tight. There are many mask options available without filters that can help your face stay cool in the heat. Also, a lighter-colored mask will absorb less of the sun’s heat and will stay cooler compared to dark-colored ones.

Even if a mask is thinner, it still needs to cover the nose and mouth area to be effective. You also still need to practicing social distancing with others while wearing one. Lightweight masks are most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 when everyone is wearing one.

Certain materials can cause skin irritation. If you have the option, try to purchase or make cotton face masks. Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics and doesn’t cause skin irritation for most people. Irritation can also happen if your mask is too tight on your face.

Reusable face masks need to be washed after each use in warm water. This gets rid of germs as well as any bacteria that may irritate your face.

Second Tip: Drink water and stay in the shade

A main concern with face masks and warm weather is overheating. A face mask covering your nose and face helps protect you from inhaling COVID-19 germs. However, it can also create a warm environment where it feels difficult to breathe.

For individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, this is especially true. These people are part of the group who most need to wear masks because they are high-risk for serious illness with COVID-19.

When people with these risk factors need to leave the house, they should avoid going out during very hot weather or the hottest part of the day.

To stay cool while wearing a face mask, find shady areas to stand and avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. Drinking lots of water is important too. Because wearing a face mask will most likely cause you to sweat more, drinking water will help you stay hydrated.

Third Tip: Keep multiple face masks on hand

Face masks will most likely become damp with sweat if individuals have been out and about for hours on end. When this happens, it is important to change into a new, clean face mask right away. Damp face masks are less effective when it comes to filtering out germs lingering in the air.

When changing your face mask in public, throw your dirty face mask away. If it’s a reusable mask, you can store it until you have a chance to wash it. Before putting on your clean mask, you’ll want to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You’ll also want to make sure you are away from other people.

Whenever you need to change your face mask, or if you simply want to take a break from wearing it, find an area that is well-ventilated and a good distance away from other people.

Face masks play a critical part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is important that everyone helps save lives by wearing masks in public settings.

Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.


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