Fears grow over heat exhaustion caused by wearing masks in summer
Kyodo -- May 12
Medical experts have called for extra vigilance regarding heat-related illnesses this summer, amid growing fears that the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus could cause breathing difficulties and dehydration.

Cities in Yamanashi and Gunma prefectures on Monday recorded the country's highest temperature this year of 33.4 C, with several other prefectures registering temperatures of over 30 C the same day.

Wearing masks during the hot and humid summer months "will be a new experience for many people," said Yasufumi Miyake, head of the advanced emergency medical service center at Teikyo University Hospital.

As wearing masks in hot weather makes it difficult for cool air to reach the lungs, the respiratory muscles are activated resulting in shortness of breath, which in turn makes it easier for heat to build up inside the body.

Miyake, who is well-versed in measures to prevent heat-related illnesses, stressed it is important to cool the body down in order to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke. He suggested turning on air conditioners, drinking water at regular intervals and increasing rest time.

気温が上がるこれからの時期、マスクによる思わぬ体温の上昇に注意が必要です。  11日、都心は28.1度を記録し、7月上旬並みの暑さとなりました。半袖姿に不釣り合いなマスク。新型コロナウイルスの影響で暑い時期でもマスクを着ける異例の事態です。心配されるのがマスクによる熱中症です。  今の時期、マスクを外で着けるとどんな状況になるのでしょうか。気温30度のテレビ朝日の屋上で顔の表面温度を測ると、30度前後です。マスクを着けると、中がかなり暑くなってきました。ちょっと汗ばんでマスクが引っ付く感じがします。十数分後、顔の表面温度は30度から37度に上昇しました。では、これからの時期、マスクとどのように付き合っていけばいいのでしょうか。  帝京大学医学部付属病院救命救急センター・三宅康史センター長:「コロナ対策と同時期に熱中症対策両方を一緒にやる必要があります。例えば休憩を増やすとか、水分補給をする、涼しい所でマスクを外して体を冷やす、そういったひと手間、ひと工夫を入れないとだめだろうと思います」  一方、マスクといえばこんな気掛かりなニュースも。中国で先月24日、中学校で体育の授業にマスクを着けてグラウンドを走っていた中学生が倒れて死亡しました。今のところ、死亡原因がマスクであるかどうかは明らかになっていませんが、一連の事故を受けて中国では、体育の時間にマスクを着けないように呼び掛ける自治体も出てきています。
News sources: Kyodo, ANNnewsCH
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