Wearing a mask during heat advisory is OK, experts say

This story originally appeared on wtvr.com

RICHMOND, Va. — During one of the hottest weekends of the summer so far, Brown’s Island was packed with people on Sunday.

Many folks were walking, biking and swimming in the James River.

“We’re just out here enjoying the scenic view trying to find some good shade,” said Catoya Black, who was visiting the park with her two daughters.

Black said she planned to stay for no more than an hour because of the extreme heat.

A heat advisory is in effect for the entire CBS 6 viewing area into Sunday evening, and again for Monday.

The combination of heat and humidity will make it feel over 105° in some locations Sunday. Monday will be even hotter with high temperatures near or slightly above 100°. The heat index is forecast to surpass 105°, but some areas may see a heat index in excess of 110°.

“This time of year, especially when the temperatures do seem to crawl, we do experience at times a high call level volume for those who are outside,” Richmond Ambulance Authority Assistant Field Operations Supervisor Danielle Geronimo said.

But with the extreme heat and the COVID -19 pandemic raging, some questioned whether they should wear a mask during the heat advisory.

“It’s more of a people being uncomfortable wearing the mask, because of it causing increased heat as you’re breathing in the mask,” Geronimo explained.

 Richmond Ambulance Authority Assistant Field Operations Supervisor Danielle Geronimo
Richmond Ambulance Authority Assistant Field Operations Supervisor Danielle Geronimo

However, Geronimo said masks and face coverings are still safe to wear.

“They are keeping you safe. They’re keeping others safe that are around you,” Geronimo said. “If you do experience difficulty breathing during extreme heat, we ask that you take the mask off and socially distance, so that you can get that air flow.”

Black said she and her family are continuing to be play it safe during the pandemic and in the heat.

“We have the masks in our pocket, just incase if needed,” Black said. “But while we’re spaced out with the six feet apart, it’s fine for right now. It’s too hot to have the mask on and be working out.”

According to The World Health Organization, you should not wear a mask while exercising since it can reduce your ability to breath comfortably.

However, if you want to take precautions, experts suggest being mindful of the signs of heat-related illnesses.

“Pay attention to signs of heat illness such as confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness, high body temperature, fainting, loss of consciousness or muscle cramps, particularly while wearing face coverings,” experts at Johns Hopkins University warned.

Also remember to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and a hat as well as trying to stay out of direct sunlight.

2020-07-20T11:08:44+00:00July 20th, 2020|
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