How essential is a pollution mask in India?

As air pollution levels continue to worsen in all over cities and nearby areas, it’s important to buy a mask that can help you against pollutants in the air. “Wearing a mask while outdoors will prevent you from breathing in the polluted air. But, make sure to use high-grade and medically approved masks for the best results.

The major impact of the toxic compounds in the air is said to be on the respiratory system as it obstructs the respiratory tract. The common symptoms of the impact of air pollution include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and coughing. “People with prolonged exposure to polluted air are vulnerable to bronchitis, asthma, suffocation, and Chronic Obstruction Airway. Apart from that, the risks of developing cardiovascular problems also increase. The person also may develop skin infection and hair loss and in worse case suffer from lung cancer. The toxic compounds present in the polluted air scales up the risk of anaemia and kidney damage,” he says.

Many continue to use surgical masks unaware that they are for single-use only. While N95 and N99 are most sought after, there are some other masks that you must know about.

N95 air masks

public health emergency, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, air pollution, smog, pollution delhi, hazy weather, types of masks, aiir masks, N-99, N-95 mask, air quality index, poor health, breathing problems, N95 mask filters up to 95 per cent of particulate matter from 0.3 to 2.5PM. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
N95 masks are basic anti-pollution masks that filter 95 per cent of the pollutants. This mask filters the particle pollutants including PM2.5. While purchasing this grade of the mask, make sure to ensure that it has a separate passage for air to move out while exhaling. This design will help to prevent moisture and excessive fogging near the nose-bridge and eyes.

A type of N95 is the Cambridge Mask which has three layers for filtering the air. The primary filter restricts the pollutants; the second layer filters the microbes with its microbe particulate filters and the third layer is a military-grade carbon filter. This mask filters the PM of 0.3 to 2.5 and dust of PM 10 as well as protects from viruses and bacteria.

What to do if you feel unwell:

If you experience shortness of breath or choking, then use wet cloth mask which will restrict polluted air from entering your respiratory tract.

If you experience tightness in the chest or feel shortness of breath with pain in the chest, then immediately visit the nearest healthcare centre without delay.

Asthma patients must keep their inhaler with them and use it whenever they feel uneasy. It is advised for asthma patients to stay away from heavy pollution.

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