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Wearing masks: important even in warm weather

Jun 18, 2020 06:11AM ● By Editor

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Ryan Juntti of WDIO-TV - June 18, 2020

With the hot weather we've experienced recently, staying safe from the heat while also protecting yourself from COVID-19 is crucial.

One of the popular activities on a nice day is visiting Canal Park, and it was a busy Wednesday afternoon there.

“Walking up and down the Canal, there can be about 40, 50 people at a time," said Noah Halldorson of Plymouth, who was in Canal Park on Wednesday afternoon.

That also poses a higher risk of both getting and spreading the virus, which is why health officials say wearing a mask, even in warm weather is strongly encouraged. 

“The benefits to masking to both us and those around us certainly outweighs the potential risk,” said St. Luke's Chief Medical Officer, and Emergency Physician Dr. Nick Van Deelen.

The risk Van Deelen is referring to is any possible health complications from wearing a mask. He says he hasn't seen that happen at St. Luke's, but adds there are still things to keep in mind when wearing a mask in warm weather.

“Individuals who have underlying heart or lung disease, who have trouble breathing at baseline, if you start feeling lightheaded, dizzy, short of breath, or overheating, you should take the mask off.” Van Deelen said.

Van Deelen adds if you do have to remove your mask to then make sure to practice social distancing. 

Even if wearing a mask may be a little uncomfortable, some people say the benefits outweigh the discomfort.

“It’s a lot more comfortable than I’m sure the illness is for a lot of people in hospital beds right now,” Halldorson said.

“To me it’s not that big of a deal, and if it prevents someone from getting COVID, then I’ve done my part,” said Laura Haubrick of Elk River, who was in Canal Park on Wednesday afternoon.  

At the end of the day, it's better to be safe than sorry.

“I feel like it’s the least we can do as healthy citizens walking around to protect ourselves and others,” Halldorson said.

“Until we’re on top of it, everybody should wear them as much as possible, no matter what the weather is,” said Pam Syring of Duluth who was in Canal Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Andrea Boehland, Essentia Health Emergency Room Physician says about wearing masks in warm weather:

  • Masks are very important, even in the heat.
  • A natural fabric such as cotton or bamboo is good at catching germs and is less uncomfortable than synthetic material in the heat.
  • Lighter colors are more comfortable in warmer temperatures because they absorb less heat from the sun.
  • Consider bringing more than one mask with you, so that if your first one gets sweaty, you have a fresh replacement.
  • If you have to remove your mask, make sure you’re six feet away from those around you.

To see the original story and related articles, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.  https://www.wdio.com/duluth-minnesota-news/wearing-masks-important-warm-weather-/5763260/?cat=10335
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