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Western New Yorkers adjust to summer heat while wearing a mask

'If you're going for a walk by yourself and you're not near anybody, you don't have to have a mask on. Sometimes just bringing that mask with you is appropriate.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In Western New York, we've experienced all kinds of weather, including intense heat.

However, we're not used to dealing with it while wearing a mask. 

Jillianna Wasiura, a senior infection prevention and control coordinator at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, said you should only wear your mask when necessary.

"If you're not near people, you don't have to have your mask on," she said. "If you're going for a walk by yourself and you're not near anybody, you don't have to have a mask on. Sometimes just bringing that mask with you is appropriate. If you're driving in the car by yourself, you don't need to have a mask on."

If you can't social distance, Wasiura told 2 On Your Side that mask usage is still imperative to protecting those around you and slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

She added, "You want to make sure that you're hydrating probably more than you normally do. With that mask on, you're gonna be sweating more than typical and you could lose fluids that way." 

Additionally, Wasiura recommends you carry extra masks just in case.

"If it gets wet or damp it's not gonna be as effective so you want to make sure that you have the ability to replace it if necessary," she said. 

However, in this hot weather, Wasiura said you should be mindful of when your body might need a break.

"If you're outside and you're sweating and you become dizzy or you start to feel faint or you're just having trouble breathing in general, those are certain signs that you probably should take a seat and you want to make sure that you're away from people and take your mask off. Have a drink," Wasiura said.

If you are looking for a face covering that might be cooler on your face, Wasiura said it should still be in line with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

Overall, she told 2 On Your Side, "We have to stay the course. It's working. The masks work."

As a reminder, according to the CDC, not everyone should wear a mask. Exceptions include children younger than two and anyone who has trouble breathing.

Tips from the CDC on taking your face covering off when you're home:

  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
  • Fold outside corners together
  • Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings)
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

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