Wearing a face mask uncomfortable in summer heat? Tips for keeping cool during COVID-19

LOS ANGELES -- With temperatures rising, wearing a face mask is more than just an inconvenience -- it can feel downright miserable.

Dr. Anne Rimoin, an infectious disease professor at UCLA, said wearing a mask in the heat can be uncomfortable, but it is not impossible. Rimoin offered some tips for making the experience more manageable.

"You want to wear a mask that is light in color because dark colors will get hotter, faster, [drawing] the sun to you," she said.

To illustrate this, "Good Morning America's" Becky Worley recorded the temperature difference between a light-colored mask and a dark-colored mask on a 78-degree day. Her remote thermometer recorded 105 degrees for a black mask and 94 degrees for a light blue surgical mask.

Rimoin also said to make sure your mask isn't too tight. The covering should have a tight seal around the edge, but there should be room between your mouth and the mask to allow airflow.

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Experts say cotton masks may be the most comfortable because they absorb sweat. When leaving the house, take a few extra face coverings to avoid skin irritation from wearing a mask too long.

Anyone worried about wearing a mask in the heat should limit the time they spend in outdoor spaces where masks are needed, Rimoin said.

"Making sure that you have something that is comfortable to you will make a very big difference," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises Americans to wear cloth face coverings in public, especially those in areas with significant community-based transmission of the novel coronavirus.
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