As anyone who's spent time under a mask recently can tell you, the practice isn't often enjoyable. And as the weather warms up, face masks could become particularly sweaty and uncomfortable.
"Philadelphia summers are tough," says Nicole Jochym, a third-year medical student at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University who works with the Sew Face Masks Philadelphia organization.
After all, even as the temperature rises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends wearing face masks, and in some cases, it is required. Luckily there are some strategies to help make masking up more bearable in warm weather.
CHOOSE YOUR MATERIAL
Wearing a mask can be hot and make breathing feel more difficult. With that in mind, you'll want to make sure your mask is reasonably breathable to help both increase comfort and decrease the impulse to touch the mask to adjust it - which is a big no-no when out and about.
"You want a breathable fabric," Jochym says. Her recommendation: Using a mask that is made from 100% cotton. According to the CDC, good options include woven cotton sheets and T-shirt fabric.
While cotton isn't moisture-wicking, she says, it's more breathable than synthetic fabrics like polyester, and it could make masks more comfortable in the heat. Avoid filters, Jochym adds, because they are often made from synthetic materials, and can make masks hotter and harder to breathe through.
CHECK THE FIT
Your mask should be somewhat snug on your face, but you don't want it to be so tight that it's uncomfortable or difficult to breathe through. To solve that issue, says Carrie L. Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, try out different masks, or use one that has adjustable ties.
"A tie mask probably would be better. Elastic straps can be irritating behind the ear," she says. "Don't put it on so tight that you can't breathe."