Wearing a reusable face mask when going out in public is an absolute must to help slow the spread of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but some people have noted that not all face masks are as breathable as others. If you count yourself in that bucket, you need a lightweight, cooling face mask—and there are options!
First, know the basics. The CDC advises the public to wear face masks made with 100% cotton that cover the nose and mouth. This is especially important if you’re within a six-foot radius of others. Cloth masks have been proven to act as a barrier, preventing respiratory droplets dispersed into the air when anyone infected with COVID-19 talks, coughs, or sneezes.
The thing is, cloth face masks aren’t always the most ventilated and tend to absorb sweat easily, says Nate Favini, M.D., M.S., the Medical Lead at Forward healthcare. “Cotton masks can be thick, thus making it difficult to breathe while exercising or in warm weather,” he tells Prevention.com. “Exercising with a damp mask makes breathing even harder during physical activity.”
Despite “warmer than average” temperatures this summer, we’ll be the first to say: You should still wear a face mask! In order to stay cool while braving the outdoor heat, Dr. Favini says to choose masks made with moisture-wicking fabrics. Similar to athletic clothing, these materials are resilient against liquid, allowing you to breathe better while providing protection. Another option? Lighter cottons that safely allow some airflow.
Before committing, try a simple light test to make sure your pick is effective, says Iahn Gonsenhauser, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “In this new COVID-19 reality, you can find masks of every imaginable fabric,” he says. “If you can see daylight between fibers, the weave is too loose and multiple layers are necessary.”
Although lighter masks may alleviate discomfort, we’d like to point out that these are best suited for anyone spending several hours outside to exercise or work. Simply put, there is not enough research to show its effectiveness in comparison to cotton masks. It’s why we suggest wearing multi-layer options or pairing it with a liner for added protection against inhaling infectious droplets.
Dr. Gonsenhauser maintains that in the end, any type of covering that follows CDC guidelines will help. “Any mask that covers your mouth and nose, fits comfortably so that you don’t have to touch it often, and is of a multi-layered or tightly woven material will do the job,” he says.
Content retrieved from: https://www.prevention.com/health/g33314213/breathable-face-masks/.