Heat Wave

Experts Recommend Breathable Face Masks to Avoid Heat Stroke

Heat stroke symptoms include confusion, dizziness, nausea and fainting

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Triple-digit temperatures are expected across the Bay Area this week just as California enters a new normal that allows vaccinated people to ditch the face masks.

Despite the new guidelines, some people have decided to keep their face coverings on for safety. However, experts say the intense heat wave in combination with a face mask may pose a greater danger.

Some people - such as PG&E contractors - spend hours working outside as temperatures climb past the 90s, and do so while wearing a mask.

Meteorologist Kari Hall has an update on hot temperatures across the region and when we cool off in the Microclimate Forecast.

Doctors say on hot days, masks may actually inhibit the body's ability to regulate heat and put you at higher risk of heat stroke. Experts recommend reconsidering the type of mask to wear when temperatures climb.

"I think the N-95 is tough to breathe through, and the N-95 does not allow airflow, that's how it protects you from COVID. " said Medical Director at Alta Bates Summit, Dr. Ronn Berrol. "But on hot days it's more problematic, so you may consider switching to a simple surgical mask with two layers, or a cloth mask."

He also said it’s important to watch for symptoms of heat stroke which include confusion, dizziness, nausea and fainting.

"People will stop sweating when it’s extremely hot and they can’t regulate their temperature, so it looks a lot like a stroke," explained Sutter Health Emergency Physician Dr. Arthur Jey.

He said if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to head to the emergency room. In addition, he said you can minimize risk by staying hydrated, wearing light, loose clothing and sunscreen, and avoiding exercise in the afternoon.

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