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Japan medical group reports that wearing masks does not increase heatstroke risk

This file photo shows commuters wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)

TOKYO -- The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine and other bodies announced July 15 that there is no evidence to indicate that wearing masks leads to elevated heatstroke risks, and called on people to take measures to prevent both heatstroke and COVID-19 infections.

    In the group's guidelines regarding heatstroke treatment amid the coronavirus pandemic, it stated that removing masks does not prevent heatstroke, even if individuals feel less suffocated. It urged people to take measures such as ventilating rooms, using air conditioning, and drinking plenty of water.

    The group of academic societies analyzed studies in Japan and overseas that examined the link between heatstroke and COVID-19. It reportedly discovered that in the case of a healthy young adult, the rise in body temperature after an hour of mild exercise or a 20-minute jog in the heat was no different wearing a mask and not wearing one. However, the academic bodies cautioned that there is no such data on elderly people, children, and those with past illnesses.

    Shoji Yokobori, a Nippon Medical School professor and Japanese Association for Acute Medicine member, commented, "Telling people to remove masks to prevent heatstroke could mislead the public. I'd like people to determine whether to wear a mask depending on the situation and consider balancing heatstroke countermeasures with anti-infection measures."

    (Japanese original by Rikka Teramachi, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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