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How to (not) wear a face mask during the heatwave

Credit: Belga

As the high temperatures in Belgium are expected the last for several more days, the Crisis Centre gave some tips on how to correctly wear a face mask during the heatwave.

“The last few days, we have all experienced that wearing a mask is not pleasant when exposed to such high temperatures,” said Yves Stevens, spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre during a press conference on Monday.

“We cannot ignore [the virus]. It is not because it is hot and unpleasant to wear a mask, that we do not have to. So even during this heat, wear your mask where you have to,” Stevens stressed, giving some tips to make the wearing of a mask during hot days “at least a little less unpleasant.”

“The first is very simple: stay inside, as much as you can,” said Stevens, stressing that this obvious tip is extra important for people who are part of a high-risk group, such as people with respiratory problems or the elderly.

Secondly, when leaving the house, do it before or after the biggest heat. “In the morning, or in the evening, if at all possible,” Stevens said.

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Choose a disposable surgical mask, or a mask made of a light fabric. They allow better ventilation.

Do not put your mask in the freezer, and do not make it wet. “It can maybe give some refreshment for a few minutes, but the mask loses a lot of its efficiency,” said Stevens. “Do not do it, the quality of your mask will drop dramatically,” he added.

Change your mask regularly, especially if you sweat a lot. “It is the same principle as for the previous tip: your mask should stay dry,” Stevens said. “Especially for people who have to wear a mask for their professions, such as in the hospitality industry or shops, change your mask more than usual,” he added.

If you do not feel well when you are outside due to the heat, go to a place where you can keep enough physical distance from others, and take off your mask for a moment.

“The heatwave does not change the golden rules that we have to respect in the context of Covid-19,” said Stevens. “Hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance remain important. If it is difficult to maintain that distance, in places where it is very busy for example, change your plans, or be extra vigilant,” he added.

More tips to protect yourself and vulnerable people from the heat can be found at www.warmedagen.be.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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