Breathing hard in hot weather can make it more contagious


WEARING THE MASK – With the heat, you drip under your mask. In transport, enclosed spaces or even outdoors in public spaces in certain municipalities, it is mandatory. And with the return of the strong heat expected from this Sunday, September 13, this will not help.

The hotter it is, the harder you breathe, and the more you sweat. And you have to prepare for it. On Monday September 14 the temperatures will exceed 30 ° C and could reach 35 ° C in places, from the southwest to central France.

With the mask, drops of sweat run down the face and chin. However, sweating, unlike intense breathing, would not be a vector of contagion of the coronavirus.

Perspiration is not considered a vector

The filtering capacities of the mask reduced

At the same time, breathing harder (without or under your mask) constitutes an additional factor of contamination, because the number of droplets ejected by the mouth and the nose increases. With heat, breathing quickens and becomes more intense, as when practicing a sport. And “the surgical mask would quickly lose its filtering capacities due to the humidity generated by hyperventilation”.

However, respect for barrier gestures is essential for the mask to be effective. You should therefore avoid touching it or putting it back with your hands. It is also not recommended to touch your face with your fingers, even to wipe away perspiration. Choose a disposable handkerchief, which you then throw in a trash can, or use a Mist to cool your forehead or neck. No more sharing of water bottles.

Change your mask more often

Be careful not to moisten the mask, however, because if it “is wet, the static electricity of the fibers of the fabric which stops the droplets of the postilions disappears and the droplets pass more easily”, explains the French Association for Standardization (Afnor) . It is therefore advisable to change your mask more regularly than every 4 hours, to prevent it from getting too wet due to intense breathing.

Since the heat is felt under the mask, the Robert-Sauvé Canadian Research Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recommends “promoting” as much as possible “breathing through the nose (mouth closed) when wearing the mask” , because it “generates less heat and humidity which will be retained in the mask”.


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