As we continue to live through this very difficult pandemic, it is important to enjoy some of the normal things in life. The outdoors is one of the least risky environments for coronavirus, as long as you continue to maintain social distancing (6 feet or greater). Ultraviolet light and vitamin D from sunshine will help your mood and your body, and exercise is an excellent way to diminish stress. That said, it is still important to remember that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent you from infection or passing it on to others. Huntington Hospital infectious disease specialist, Kimberly Shriner, MD, offers the following suggestions to keep in mind:
- In the heat and humidity of the summer, masks can become uncomfortable. Lightweight material, periodic safe breaks without the mask and good hydration can all make the mask wearing more tolerable.
- Avoid heavy material masks and try to keep the mask dry. It must be worn close to the face to be effective but if you start feeling lightheaded or winded, then it’s time for a safe break.
- Avoid masks that have a ‘vent’ (some commercially available N95 masks have this). Although they are cooler, they allow droplets to escape through the vent and thus are not preventing infection.
- Disposable surgical masks that you can change out frequently are handy and effective and there are now many types of cloth masks available that are acceptable and reasonably comfortable. Have several to change out during long periods of mask wearing when you are in close proximity to others.
- Masks can also be a great fashion statement, so enjoy wearing something that is comfortable, protective and pleasing.
- Finally, wearing a mask says to others around you, ‘I care about your safety as much as mine’. Be a good citizen AND enjoy the summer. Wear a mask.
For additional information about wearing masks in the summertime, please visit: www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200617/masks-and-summer-heat-expert-tips#1