Ins and Outs of Wearing Masks during the Summer Heat
You might no longer housebound with the lockdown over, but the pandemic is far from over. And if you are the "smart" generation, you have already become the "mask" generation. Yes, masks are here to stay much like the coronavirus, which is also unfortunately here to stay for the summer, at least. This makes that mask your constant companion when on the go, whether rain or sunshine. As if dealing with your mask in the summer sun, sweat and humidity is not enough; please keep the rains off for a bit more time.
It can be very annoying not to mention downright uncomfortable to have a mask breathing your breath down your nose and mouth when you are sweating buckets. You might even be tempted beyond reason to ditch that mask when breathing becomes a bummer with sweat lines dripping down your eyes, making your mask all wet. Further, the heat can turn this mask into a veritable "trap" that "traps" you with your breath. But with coronavirus lurking everywhere, there is no way you can escape this or is there? Going without your mask is not an option; just social distance will not keep you safe. But you can make yourself more "mask" comfortable. Read on to find out some easy ways to keep one step ahead of the coronavirus, sun, and sweat and remain cool and safe under your mask.
Why Your Mask Makes You Feel Hot?
Even when the outside temperatures are pleasantly cool or even in cold conditions wearing your mask makes you a little bit hotter. This is especially worse when you are already facing the summer heat. The reasons for this are simple and logical and listed below:
- Masks tend to trap heat. Picture this, when you exhale, the heat from that is getting trapped by the mask rather than dispersing in the air when you don't have any facial covering. This elevates the temperature inside the mask-making you feel hotter.
- This trapping of heat s worse under high humid conditions. With humidity, air saturation is high. This means that the heat from your breath does not easily get absorbed by the surrounding air and remains trapped inside the mask.
- The material of the mask matters a lot. If you wear a mask of polyester, it will get hotter more quickly than a more breathable material like cotton. The breathability factor of the material helps keep you cool, preventing you from overheating.
When Should You Consider Removing Your Mask?
Masks provide you the first line of defense against coronavirus. They have proven to be both effective and efficient in preventing, protecting, and lowering your exposure and chances of catching this deadly disease. WHO and CDC both advise that you should keep your mask on the whole time you are outside, along with maintaining a safe social distance of 6 feet. Even so, there are certain circumstances when it advised to remove your mask in public. These are listed below:
- Suffocation: There might be periods when you feel suffocated with your mask on. This is especially prevalent during summer with the heat making it difficult to breathe with a mask on. You should immediately remove your mask, maintaining a safe distance from everybody in this instance.
- Dizziness and increased heart rate: Both are signs of low oxygen levels. Summer heat can cause heat exhaustion very easily. In these circumstances, you should remove your mask, sit down, and seek medical help.
- Nausea: Another sign of heatstroke is nausea. Wearing a mask under hot and humid conditions can lead to loss of oxygen and increased fatigue. These are manifested with increased nausea. By removing your mask, you will immediately lower your body temperature allowing the heatstroke to reduce in intensity.
Things to Consider for a Comfortable Summer Mask Wear
There is no going out without a mask. But with certain pointers, you can easily breeze through the summer heat and mask combination. These are:
- Stay in When It's Too Hot: Too much heat along with humidity makes wearing a mask that much harder. Avoid heading out when there is an extreme heat weather warning or if the temperatures are soaring beyond an acceptable degree. Try to avoid heading out in the late morning to afternoons. Instead, plan your trip for cooler mornings or later afternoons and evenings.
- Mask Material Matters: A breathable material vs. a non-breathable material makes a world of difference during a hot, humid day when breathing with the mask on becomes a challenge. Choose a breathable material; your lungs will thank you.
- Fit: Take care that the mask is of a suitable size and fit. It should be snug around your nose and mouth and not tight. If it is squashing your nose, that means it a smaller size, and that will make it more difficult for you to breathe even on normal days, let alone on the hot and hotter summer days.
- Wear It Right: You need to ensure that your mask is on correctly. You might be wearing it wrong with the chin side on your nose. This can also make the mask very uncomfortable and tight. If you have it right but still have difficulties breathing, make sure you are 6 feet away from everyone before ditching it.
- Spares Are Handy: During the summers, chances are your mask will get sweaty and wet long before your work is done, or you can return home. A wet mask tends to stick to your face giving rise to breathing difficulties, suffocations, and overheating. In such cases carrying a space mask helps. You can simply swap the sweaty mask for the fresh one and carry on with your day.
- Necessity reigns supreme: The rule of thumb is to keep the mask on when outdoors. However, you can take a call looking at the necessity of the mask. If you are in an isolated zone or an empty part of the park, you can remove your mask. You also don't need a mask when driving. Masks need to be taken off in the pools and beaches when you go dipping in the water. Just make sure you have the mask back on when you head back to the ground and are around people.
Ideal Summer Mask
To pick the perfect summer mask for yourself, you just need to check off the following points:
- Breathable material preferable cotton. Cotton with inner flannel also works as a second-best option.
- Snug yet relaxed fit. A tight fit is a no go.
- Should retain shape even after washing and drying
Summer heat is disastrous for mask culture. However, this is no reason to ditch your mask, especially when the consequence might be catching the deadly coronavirus. You can easily improve your breathing comfort through certain proactive steps and stay on track with the COVID 19 precautions of mask-wearing even during the trying hot and humid summer.