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OCHD OFFERS IMPORTANT HEALTH & SAFETY TIPS FOR WEARING MASKS

Wearing face coverings outdoors can be challenging in the heat

 

It’s hot and humid; you’re sweltering; your glasses are fogging up and your face covering is soaked with sweat. How can I stay cool, see through my glasses, and still keep myself and others safe when my mask is making it difficult to breathe or is succumbing to the sticky elements?

It’s not been an easy task to get everyone on board with wearing facemasks and now throw the summer heat and humidity into the mix and it becomes more of a challenge. Especially now since masks are mandated in New Jersey even outdoors when social distancing measures are not feasible.

“All of those issues are challenging to many of us, the fogging up of glasses and sunglasses, some have breathing issues, and the most common concern is the heat,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “But don’t let the inconveniences get you down and discourage you from wearing a mask – it’s just too important at this point in the pandemic.”

“We’ve come a long way since the start of this pandemic,” added Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “To stop wearing a mask at this point would only disrupt the progress we’ve been making. So many residents have been doing their part by following the protocols and we need to stay the course.”

The OCHD has some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that may offer some help:

  • Choose the right fabric. You want a breathable fabric which is why choosing a mask made out of 100% cotton could help.

 

  • Stay away from masks that are made of polyester or synthetic fibers as they may cause the inside of the mask to heat up quickly which can make the mask harder to breathe through. The same goes for masks with filters in them as they are usually made of synthetic fibers.

 

  • Do not use a mask if it is damp or wet as this may significantly lessen the effectiveness of the mask while also making it harder to breathe through.

 

  • Carry a set of extra masks in a sealed plastic baggy to ensure they stay clean and dry.

 

  • Hot summer weather can cause moisture to build up under a mask, which can irritate your skin.  If your skin becomes irritated, then try using a (non-pore-blocking) moisturizer – and avoid products like petroleum jelly. Apply your preferred moisturizer after wearing a mask to help repair your skin.

 

  • If your glasses fog up from wearing a mask then try washing them in lukewarm soapy water, and then let them air dry after thoroughly rinsing off the suds. Another trick to help with foggy glasses could be to choose a mask that fits a bit more snug on the bridge of your nose, or try placing a piece of double-sided tape across the bridge of the nose of the mask before putting it on – as this can help seal the top of the mask to your face.

 

  • Swap out your mask in an area where other people are not around; i.e., in your home or in your car.  If this is not possible, then make sure that you are maintaining a safe social distance of at least 6 feet away from others while changing your mask.

 

  • Choose a mask that fits right. A tight fitting mask might not only make it hard to breathe through but can also cause you to feel a bit warmer in the hot weather.  If you are having trouble finding a mask that fits right, then opt for one that has adjustable ties as they have the potential for a more comfortable fit.

 

  • Limit time spent in your mask.
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    “Find the mask and fit that’s perfect for you,” Regenye advised. “It may take a little experimentation but it’s certainly well worth it. Recent studies confirm that masks do work by mitigating the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. And right now it’s the best defense we have next to social distancing and health officials believe it has certainly made a positive impact.”

    For more information regarding masks and other COVID-19 guidelines and data please visit the OCHD website at www.ochd.org. The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.

    The NJDOH (NJPIES) hotline is available for questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222 or by dialing 2-1-1.  Other related sources; for medical COVID-19 questions call 1-800-962-1253 (24/7) or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.

     

    Additional information can be found at:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

    https:/ /www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/summary.html

    or New Jersey Department of Health website at:

    https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml