Wearing a face mask during controlled-intensity exercise is not a risk factor for exertional heatstroke: A pilot study

Acute Med Surg. 2021 Nov 26;8(1):e712. doi: 10.1002/ams2.712. eCollection 2021 Jan-Dec.


Aim: This study aimed to measure the influence of wearing face masks on individuals' physical status in a hot and humid environment.

Methods: Each participant experienced different physical situations: (i) not wearing a mask (control), (ii) wearing a surgical mask, (iii) wearing a sport mask. An ingestible capsule thermometer was used to measure internal core body temperature during different exercises (standing, walking, and running, each for 20 min) in an artificial weather room with the internal wet-bulb globe temperature set at 28°C. The change in the participants' physical status and urinary liver fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) were measured.

Results: Six healthy male volunteers were enrolled in the study. In each participant, significant changes were observed in the heart rate and internal core temperatures after increased exercise intensity; however, no significant differences were observed between these parameters and urinary L-FABP among the three intervention groups.

Conclusion: Mask wearing is not a risk factor for heatstroke during increased exercise intensity.

Keywords: COVID‐19; dehydration; heatstroke; mask; prevention.