Heat and Masking
Masks are important to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and should be worn when adequate distance cannot be maintained, even when outdoors.
However, wearing a mask during hot temperatures can be dangerous, especially for some people who are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses. Heat illnesses, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps (muscle cramps) can affect you quickly and are mainly caused by over-exposure to heat or over-exertion in the heat.
During hot weather events, take the necessary precautions. If individuals must be outdoors or indoors where air conditioning is unavailable, plans should be in place to allow for adequate distancing to alleviate the need for masking.
Some precautions include:
- Plan outdoor outings for the coolest times of the day (e.g., early morning or late evening).
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or a cool environment.
- Modify activities as needed.
- When taking breaks to cool off, ensure you are able to adequately distance from others to allow you to remove your mask.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of cool liquids, especially water. Children may not feel thirsty but will still need to drink regularly.
- Stay cool by dressing for the weather; wear a hat, loose fitting and light coloured clothing with breathable fabric.
- Keep your home or environment cool; keep blinds and drapes closed, avoid using the oven, open windows at night to allow the space to cool
- Masks work in hot temperatures as long as they stay dry, keep a spare mask to change if your mask becomes wet.