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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While Virginians may be used to the sweltering heat and humidity, a game-changer this year? Face masks.

Doctors at John Hopkins University are sounding the alarm on how to stay cool while wearing a face mask.

If you have an underlying condition that makes you more susceptible to COVID-19, be strategic about when to go outside. Studies show wearing a mask can affect stress on your body and raise the temperature around your face which makes it harder to breathe.

Doctors say you should try to stay hydrated as much as possible and look out for signs of heat illness like dizziness, lightheadedness, dehydration or fainting.

Officials with the Richmond Ambulance Authority say while wearing masks sin the heat may be uncomfortable, its a vital step to stopping the spread.

“The masks are safe. They’re keeping you safe. They’re keeping others safe that are around you. It’s so extremely important for you to keep the masks on. If you experience difficulty breathing or extreme heat we ask that take your mask off and socially distance so that you can get that air flow.”

If you want to head outside consider going out early in the morning or later at night. One thing you shouldn’t do is cover your mask in water. If face coverings get wet, it can affect their ‘filtration capabilities.’