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'Absolutely Suffocating': Hot Temperatures Complicate Coronavirus Face Mask Safety

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- When the sun does its impression of an Easy Bake Oven, the only thing you can do is look for some shade.

That's exactly what Patricia Granberg was doing under a shelter at a Ross Township park at midday Tuesday.

"I'm dealing with it be best way I know how. Plenty of fluids and stuff like that," she said.

But add the COVID-19 precaution of having to wear a mask, and Yvette says, "It's like suffocating. Absolutely suffocating."

Christina Mikus agrees.

"It definitely limits activity and that's why I think you see so many people with them just on the mouth," she said.

Ross Brooks, who was sporting a red bandana, said, "It's a little sweaty, but it's worth it not spreading coronavirus."

Dr. Brian Lamb who practices Internal Medicine at AHN says there are times when you can take the mask off.

"When you are outside, away from people, yes. When you are exercising, when you are with family, when you are with a small group of friends in the backyard, yes, you don't have to wear your mask," Dr. Lamb said.

At PennDOT District 11, Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni says the heat creates a dilemma.

"It's hard balancing the COVID safety risk with the heat safety risk," she said.

So to avoid health complications for its workers and contractors, who are required to wear mask on construction and work sites, PennDOT made a policy change.

"The policy now is if you are outside of 15 feet, you don't have to wear the mask, and if someone approaches you, you have to put the mask on. A lot of our work people are not within 15 feet of each other. That's about the length of a car," she said.

Whether on the job or just out and about, Dr. Lamb says if you are wearing a cloth mask, wash it daily.

"The heat and humidity build up in your mask and make a beautiful breeding ground for bacteria," he said.

Also, Dr. Lamb recommends wearing a white or light-colored mask and it's unnecessary to wear it while you are in a car with your family. He also advises the need to hydrate is intensified by the need to wear mask.

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