Your health may be negatively impacted by wildfire smoke, particularly if you reside in an area where wildfires frequently occur or are physically present when one is burning nearby. It’s crucial to monitor the air quality in your immediate area and take safety measures if you believe you may be exposed to wildfire smoke. It is advised that you wear an efficient mask when spending time outside when wildfire smoke levels are high in order to keep your lungs as protected from harmful pollutants in the smoke as possible.
Smoke from wildfires and health
Wildfire smoke exposure symptoms include red eyes, an itchy throat, a burning nose, and coughing. CNN Health states that if you are exposed for an extended period of time or repeatedly, it can cause major issues like lung inflammation or even cancer. Additionally, it makes pre-existing medical disorders worse, like asthma and heart disease. When exercising outside in smokey air, you should take extra care because even brief exposure will make it difficult for your lungs to absorb oxygen. Another byproduct of wildfires, ozone, has been connected to an uptick in asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. On days when there are active flames nearby, think about wearing a mask; you may buy masks online if you don’t want to go outside.
Is a face mask effective against smoke from wildfires?
Not all types of smoke are blocked by face masks. The majority of face masks offered in North America shield users from dust, wood chips, and other small particles, but they are ineffective at filtering out bigger pollutants, such as wildfire smoke. It’s preferable to flee if you’re going to be close to a wildfire. You should think about using a suitable respirator for protection if that isn’t a possibility for you or your family. Your best option is probably a mask with a N95 rating, albeit it might not be able to completely filter out all particulates.
What kind of face mask should I buy?
Masks that guard against particulate matter (PM) and masks that protect against chemicals are the two types of masks you might want if you find yourself in an area where wildfire smoke is present. Chemical masks have a loose-fitting seal around your mouth and nose, protecting you from gases like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, whereas PM masks have a tight fit and filter out tiny particles, such ash and dust. Any mask you choose should have a tight fit over your mouth and nose because if it doesn’t seal well around your face, it won’t accomplish its job. If at all feasible, pick a respirator with an N-95 rating or above. Below are 3 N95 masks that have received high reviews.
NIOSH-approved Benehal 6215 N95 Mask
NIOSH APPROVED YICHITA YQD8008 N95 Mask
What Are The Best Face Masks For Wildfires?
You should wear a dependable face mask in the event of a wildfire to protect yourself. It’s a smart idea to start preparing now as wildfire season approaches. The three things you should think about while choosing the masks to wear are fit, safety, and comfort. Additionally, confirm that the masks you receive are still functional. N95 masks typically have a two to three year shelf life.
How should I apply a face mask?
- When wildfire smoke is blowing across your city, it is generally a good idea to wear a face mask if you want to be outside.
- One strap should go below the ears, while the other should go above. Place the mask over your nose and under your chin.
- Make necessary adjustments to the mask so that the edges are airtight. Unfiltered air can enter if the mask’s edges leak in any way.
- The mask’s metal portion should be snugly pinched over your nose.
- Check for a tight face seal by following the instructions on the package.
- Masks look their finest on freshly shaved skin. Because they won’t seal, masks are useless on bearded individuals.
- Children should not wear masks.
- If breathing through your mask becomes difficult, it becomes broken, or the inside becomes dirty, throw it away.
- Take frequent pauses if you work outside because it is more difficult to breathe under a mask.
- Get out of the smoke, remove your mask, and seek medical attention if you continue to feel nauseous or dizzy.