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Staying safe while wearing a mask during excessive heat

Record-breaking heat scorches the Southwest
Posted at 8:37 PM, Aug 17, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the heat seems to be relentless in Southern Nevada, those who exercise or work outside are really feeling it.

Face covering mandates due to the coronavirus pandemic can also make the heat feel almost unbearable.

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“The mask does make it a little bit harder, but it’s part of what we signed up for,” says Archie Walden.

Walden is the Training Director for Southern Nevada Laborers Local 872.

He says depending on certain construction activities, masks may or may not have been necessary to get the job done safely previously.

Now it’s a different story, despite whatever the thermometer reads.

“No matter what we do, we’re required to wear a mask out there,” says Walden.

Walden says it may require them to work a bit slower, as the mask can cause breathing to become more labored, and the body is taxed harder under the sun.

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“It’s so important in our dry heat because we don’t even feel ourselves sweat,” says Dr. Deborah Kuhls.

Dr. Kuhls of the Clark County Medical Society says people should limit any outside activity in the scorching heat.

She advises those to go out in the cooler hours of the day, and wear a lighter material mask that’s more breathable.

There is also some relief if you’re working or exercising outside.

“You can wear a wet bandana around their head, wet their shirt,” says Dr. Kuhls. “It should have any impact on COVID-19 at all, and it will help to keep them cool”

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