As temperatures rise into the mid-and upper-90s, it’s time to welcome our long, hot Texas summers. Since taking safety precautions in public will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future, learning how to comfortably wear a face covering when out and about is a must. Take at look at the following tips to follow so that loading up groceries in the parking lot doesn’t have to be a dreaded challenge.
• Find the right material and fit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 100% cotton. Not only is it super accessible (found in the majority of t-shirts, bandanas and fabric stores), but it is also one of the coolest, breathable fabrics that also contains fibers small enough to help stop the spread of virus particles. If you are making a cotton mask at home, use multiple layers of fabric (three or four) to maximize effectiveness while also making it cool enough for the Texas heat.
If your mask doesn’t really fit or is uncomfortable, sweating and humidity will only increase the problem. Kirsten Gonzalez, a medical intensive care unit nurse at UTMB Health, advises you to not settle for an ill-fitting mask. If the elastic behind the ears is uncomfortable, try straps made of other material, such as hair elastic or cloth. If masks that wrap around your head give you a headache, find one that manually ties or allows for adjustments.
• Proper mask care determines its effectiveness.
Cloth masks should be washed after every use. If you’re frequently outside, you may want to have several on hand. After cloth masks get soiled—wet with sweat or anything from your hands—they should be changed as soon as possible. If you’re around others for a long time, having another mask on hand will be beneficial.
If you have to take your mask off for some reason, avoid touching the mask in the process. Gonzales recommends removing the mask by the straps at the ear, placing the mask on a paper towel face down and placing another paper towel on top of it to ensure it remains sanitary during the break.
• Combating skin irritation skin is a challenge when sweating and wearing sunscreen.
Dermatologist Dr. Reena Jogi suggests breathable cloth masks and investing in a sun protection net gaiter to protect against UV exposure. Avoiding long amounts of time outside between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. can also protect from potentially harmful heat and humidity. If skin irritation does occur, the best approach is to try a mild moisturizer such as Aquaphor® or Vaseline® a few times per day. These products are hypoallergenic and gently heal the skin.
• Listen to your body to do what’s best for you.
If you feel you need to take a break every 15 minutes, do it. If wearing a mask in the heat makes it hard to breath because of pre-existing conditions, limit mask use by staying home or staying away from others when outdoors. Keep hydrated, especially when wearing a mask will likely lead to higher body temperatures and sweating. Be smart while practicing safety precautions.
FINAL CALL: SKILLS CAMP
Only a few spots remain for the 2020 Skills Camp for youth going into grades 6 and 7 in the fall.
Even though this will not a faceto-face camp, we have a great solution! Projects kits are being prepared for each registered camper. These kits will be available to pick up during the week of July 20-24. Projects include STEM, Upcycling, Fun with Money, Woodworking and Leatherwork. All materials will be provided, along with instructions for each project.
Also included will be a daily Life Skills Challenge and a Super Summer Salad Recipe, along with a surprise item in each kit.
A survey will be provided for feedback. As an incentive, campers who return the survey will receive a special gift!
To register, contact our Extension Office at 903-885-3443 and leave name, address and phone number. We will contact you with instructions on picking up the project kits.
Be kind to each other. Set a good example. Treat others as you want to be treated. Enough said!