A recent study out of University of California, Berkeley, found that if 80% of Americans consistently wore face masks, COVID-19 infections would plummet. PLUMMET! As of this writing, Japan has seen less than 1,000 COVID-19-related deaths, while in the U.S. we’re at 119,000 and steadily rising. The subways, restaurants, and even karaoke bars have not been closed in Japan, and they aren’t even really doing contact tracing that all the other countries say is necessary to combat the virus. So what’s the catch?
Well, it’s face masks. In Japan, people consistently wear face masks whenever they are in contact with other people. And here in the U.S., we have people spreading misinformation: Masks don’t let in oxygen (false), you get sick from breathing in your CO2 (false), or masks are a communist tactic to keep us indebted to the government (false, false, false). What we do know is that masks definitely help stop the spread of the deadly virus.
In Japan, the subways, restaurants, and even karaoke bars have not been closed. So what’s the catch? Face masks.
So, all of this is to say that we all should 1,000% wear masks any time we are in contact with other humans—at the grocery store, at the bookstore, getting your nails done or a haircut, or if you’re so inclined, sitting at a restaurant. You should also wear them if you’re jogging or engaging in any sort of outdoor activity.
But summer is here, and let me tell you—wearing a mask when it’s humid and 90 degrees outside is not very fun. In the name of public health, I’m here to offer you a few tips on how to wear a face mask when the weather is hot.
1. The Right Material Is Key
Summers in Georgia = high heat and high humidity. When it comes to picking a mask, you want to make sure you choose a material that is lightweight and breathable. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester, spandex, or neoprene. Pure, lightweight cotton is the best choice, as it’s airy and breathable. This 5-pack from Old Navy is made from 100% cotton—just toss in the wash when you’re finished and hang to dry.
2. Keep More Than One Mask on You
If you know you’re going to be outside of your house for a considerable amount of time, make sure you bring extra masks with you so you can switch them out. Once a mask gets damp and sweaty, it’s time to change it.
3. The Fit Is Super Important
How your mask fits on your face is super important. According to the CDC, your mask should fit snugly against the sides of your face, aka not too tight. If it’s too tight and it’s affecting your breathing, try another slightly larger mask. Instead of elastic straps, opt for a mask with ties so you can adjust to make them tighter or looser as needed.
4. Honestly, Avoid Being Outdoors For Extended Periods of Time
Wearing face masks during the summer sucks. There’s no other way to put it. But honestly, the pandemic is still here and we should all be sheltering in place and only going out to run necessary errands or to pick up food. Trust me, it’s not fun staying in the house for days on end, but the alternative is 1,000,000% worse.
If you do have to be outside for an extended period of time, take a 15-minute break every now and then to let your face breathe—just make sure to go to your car, use hand sanitizer before and after you take the mask off, toss it in a bag to launder later, and put on a new one before you go outside again.
If you have any tips on how you wear a face mask in hot weather, PLEASE share it with us!