HIGHS of 43C are expected to scorch parts of Andalucia this weekend as a blast of hot Saharan air has been predicted to sweep over the Peninsula.
The sizzling summer temperatures together with the mandatory use of masks can make for a somewhat uncomfortable combination.
Although it may seem complicated, it is possible to survive the summer heat by wearing this compulsory accessory considered one of the most effective measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19.
The reduced ventilation around the mouth and the retained humidity because of wearing a mask can lead to a temperature rise in the body as the convection and evaporation of heat from the mouth to the surrounding is minimum.
It may also cause the appearance of dryness, itchiness, tightness and even stinging of the skin.
According to the Official College of Pharmacists of Madrid (COFM): ‘The hot and humid environment generated under the mask causes an accumulation of sweat and oil on the skin that can favour the proliferation of bacteria and the appearance of acne outbreaks.’
The COFM offers the following recommendations to avoid skin problems caused by the use of masks, especially at high temperatures:
- Clean the face before and after the use of a mask.
- Wash with warm water and mild, unscented soaps or cleansers. Syndet bars are the best option for sensitive skin and can prevent skin irritation.
- Apply moisturiser to recover the nutrients and water of the skin.
- Before putting on the mask, it is recommended to apply a barrier cream or hydrocolloid dressing to the areas of contact where rubbing may occur.
- Avoid the use of makeup.
- Use lip balm to avoid dryness of the lips.
- Apply sunscreen under the mask, as masks do not protect against ultraviolet radiation.
Other recommendations include:
- Avoid extreme heat: In these conditions it can be more difficult to breathe. Whenever possible, leave the house early in the morning or late in the day.
- Choose a breathable material for your mask: Surgical-type masks that are less tight and allow for more perspiration, just like cotton or hygienic masks.
- A spare: It is a good idea to carry a spare mask in case you sweat excessively and this makes wearing it even more uncomfortable. Just remember to store it properly.
- Change brand: It can also be beneficial to change the model or brand of the mask in order to avoid rubbing and skin contact in the same places, thus avoid possible skin irritation and damage.
- Common sense: If you have difficulty breathing, pause to drink water and sit in the shade. If you feel dizzy or your heart rate is a little high, seek medical assistance.