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How to prevent heat exhaustion caused by wearing masks in summer

06:00 | 13/05/2020

In the humid summer months, wearing a face mask all day can play havoc with your skin, causing pimples, clogged pores and breakouts.

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how to prevent heat exhaustion caused by wearing masks in summer

The fierce heat forces drivers to hide under long coats whilst commuting on the roads. Source: VOV

Recent days Vietnam has endured a major hot spell marking the first signs of the arrival of summer, with temperatures can reach up to 41 degrees Celsius during the day.

Local people have to wear masks, hats, and long clothing in an effort to protect themselves from the fierce heat of the sun.

According to the Southern Hydro-Meteorological Center, Ho Chi Minh city and southern provinces are expected to be hit by heavy rains May 15 after days beneath the scorching sun, Vnexpress reported.

The arrival of long-expected rains could help reduce Ho Chi Minh city's temperatures by up to 10 degrees Celsius from the 37-38 degrees Celsius of the past sweltering weeks, said Le Dinh Quyet, meteorologist of the center.

Still, American forecast services provider AccuWeather estimated the city's temperature for the rest of the month to be around 33-34 degrees Celsius.

Vietnam reported no new COVID-19 cases as of 6pm May 12, retaining the total number of positive cases at 288. Most of people are wearing face masks not to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus but to reduce the exposure to the summer heat and pollutants while going out.

A hot summer also begins in Japan. This country's medical experts have called for extra vigilance regarding heat-related illnesses this summer, amid growing fears that the wearing of face masks could cause breathing difficulties and dehydration, reported Kyodo News.

Cities in Yamanashi and Gunma prefectures on Monday recorded the country's highest temperature this year of 33.4 degrees Celsius, with several other prefectures registering temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius the same day.

Wearing masks during the hot and humid summer months "will be a new experience for many people," said Yasufumi Miyake, head of the advanced emergency medical service center at Teikyo University Hospital.

As wearing masks in hot weather makes it difficult for cool air to reach the lungs, the respiratory muscles are activated resulting in shortness of breath, which in turn makes it easier for heat to build up inside the body.

Miyake stressed it is important to cool the body down in order to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke. He suggested turning on air conditioners, drinking water at regular intervals and increasing rest time.

"People should not overdo it on days they go to the office or school," as they have not had time to acclimatize to the heat after remaining at home for telework and when schools were closed, he said.

Noriyuki Koibuchi, a professor at Gunma University's Graduate School of Medicine specializing in environmental physiology, said that as there are many nerve fibers in the face, it is more sensitive to heat and cold than other parts of the body.

He recommended alleviating discomfort by cooling the forehead and neck even while keeping a mask on.

"As you take more frequent breaths when wearing a mask, you should definitely avoid vigorous exercise (when wearing one)," Koibuchi said.

In China, at least two junior high school students collapsed and died last month while wearing face masks during physical exercise examinations.

The deaths have prompted experts to warn of the dangers of wearing high-grade masks during intense exercise, which could lead to oxygen deficiency.

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