Buying a medical mask has become a necessity nowadays. It is an investment that will keep you protected from the hazards of air pollution.
Simply buying any mask isn’t advisable as it won’t protect you from pollution. It is vital that you choose the right type of mask to get the desired results.
Air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. More and more pollutants are being released, leading to respiratory problems. Air contaminants are produced by various sources – especially from factories, automobiles, and many more.
These discharges are an invention of:
- Synthetic Compounds
- Auxiliary Toxins
- Ground-Level Ozone.
Fine particulate matter, particularly, PM 2.5 and PM 10 are created during fuel ignition. This cause various intense and incessant diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and immunity frameworks.
Did you Know?
According to a report by the GHO, these are brought about by PM 10 and PM 2.5-
- 8% of COPD (ceaseless obstructive pneumonic ailment) deaths,
- 25% of lung malignant growth deaths
- 15% of ischemic coronary illness and stroke
These are just a few of the reasons why we should buy a medical mask. Our safety is our responsibility and we must step up to the plate.
Points to keep in mind while buying a mask to save us from air pollution
There are various kinds of masks, each serving a different purpose. Let’s look at how to properly select one:
Specification of use
Before buying an anti-pollution mask, it is important to know what kind of particulate matter is polluting your area. N-99 masks or N 95 masks are perfect for non-oil-based fine particulate matter.
- For non-oil-based pollutants
N-95 masks have the capability to stop 97% of PM 2.5 from entering our mouth or nose. Similarly, N-99 masks are known to stop 98% of PM 2.5 from entering. If the concentration of PM 2.5 is excessive, then you should opt for the N-100 mask. This mask has a 99.97% rate of efficiency.
- For oil-based pollutants
Places where the PM 2.5 pollutants are mainly oil based, then you need to go for P series masks. In such areas, N series will not be effective. So, if you reside in an area where the oil based pollutants are high then you should go for R 95 or P 95 masks.
Such masks tend to be more expensive and need to be replaced frequently, around every 40 hours.
Size of Particulate Matter Filter
The PM 10 mainly covers the nose area because the filter inside the mask prevents larger particles from going inside our nostrils. Since these pollutants are big in size it only affects the eyes, nose, and throat.
Any particle-sized between 2.5 and 10 causes more damage. They go deep into the lungs. Particles less than 2.5 settle in the lungs and travel into different parts of the body through the blood circulation.
Anything less than 1 micron goes directly into the bloodstream of the body, causing severe damage. Choose a medical mask that filters the right size of particles, preferably as small as possible. You can check the Cartly Shop and find out more about these masks.
Fit of the mask
Most people either buy a mask that is too small for them or too big. If a mask is too small, it makes breathing harder and uncomfortable. If it’s too big, it refutes the purpose of buying the mask in the first place.
The perfect mask fits comfortably on your nasal bridge and covers your nose and mouth evenly. There are also adjustable masks available in the market.
Particles are smaller and thinner than a strand of hair, so there should be no gaps for entry. Buying a mask that goes over your ears is better than one going for overhead ones.
Authentic quality of the mask
The most important factor to keep in mind is the quality of the mask. Irrespective of the type of mask you buy, it should be certified by the government. These certifications include Personal Protective Equipment by CE and EN 149:2001+A1:2009 FFP2 R. This ensures that the mask does its job.
For anti-pollution masks, FFP2 is a standard. This standard reduces exposure to air toxins by a factor of 10. The ‘R’ stands for reusable, indicating the sustainability of the masks.
Usually, American guidelines are followed.
Usability of the mask
Masks are accessible in both reusable and disposable assortments. For example, Cambridge masks are utilized more than once and cleaned with a wet fabric. Masks which can be worn only once, must be constantly replaced.
Surgical masks with carbon filters commonly found at pharmacies and chemist shops are not useful for PM 2.5 or PM 10.
Masks themselves can get contaminated with pathogens, particularly subsequent to cleaning with wet material, if not cleaned and dried appropriately. Improper storage could result in the infestation of bacteria or fungi and the infection of the nose bridge.
There is also the risk of loosening the elastic of the mask. These precautions must be taken to maintain the reusability of the medical mask. A good reusable mask lasts for around 4 months.
Ventilation is what gives comfort level to the person wearing a mask. Quality masks prevent fogging and moisture near the eyes and nose-bridge. There is also a CO2 outlet.
The outlet of the mask opens when you exhale and closes when you inhale.
As mentioned, a medical mask is an investment. Though handkerchiefs or scarfs are frequently used, they cannot replace a proper anti-pollution mask. They do not have the same filtering capabilities as a mask, nor are they as sanitary.
The increasing level of pollution demands that everyone invest in these powerful tools. These can protect you from both short term and long term health problems. So, when buying a mask for yourself and family, keep these things in mind.
Proper caution and safety will serve you for a long time. Maintain these and live a disease-free life.