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Cloth masks or N95? Expert Reveals Best Face Masks To Fight Pollution – News18

By: Lifestyle Desk
Trending Desk
Last Updated: November 18, 2022, 14:21 IST
New Delhi, India
Masks can provide protection from pollution by filtering the particulate matter in the air and reducing the risks of any damage to internal organs (Representational Image)
The air quality in the Delhi-NCR region continues to remain under the ‘poor’ category. Studies have linked air pollution to health issues like strokes, heart diseases, lung cancer, and acute and chronic diseases. Therefore, continuing to wear masks could be helpful in not only safeguarding ourselves from the hazardous air, but also from the risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Masks can provide protection from pollution by filtering the particulate matter in the air and reducing the risks of any damage to internal organs. So what kind of mask one should purchase? Are cloth masks better or should you prefer N95 masks? Scroll below to know more.
Things to remember before purchasing a mask
Before purchasing the mask, check it doesn’t have any open ends.
Avoid touching the inner side of the masks. Only touch the outer layer carefully while holding the mask.
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Make sure your hands are clean when before you pick and wear the mask.
The metal piece available at the nose portion needs to be pushed and fitted downward to your nose.
Giving further insight on which mask one should use, Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Senior Consultant-Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital in an interview with Hindustan Times said, “Masks can offer some protection from pollution. The best masks can filter out particulate matter and, to some extent, gases. The most widely available masks that fit this profile are N95 and equivalent masks (KN95 FPp2). These block 95% of particulate matter down to 0.3 µm and also will reduce some pollutant gases. These are also very effective in filtering out viruses and bacteria already well-known due to the pandemic."
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Dr Padegal suggested that the reliability of cloth and disposable masks cannot be trusted as they don’t work as effectively as those which can minimize harmful gas exposure. He further added that some masks contain components like activated carbon, which can minimize other gases like sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide. But cloth and disposable surgical masks do not function like that.
Moreover, choosing a mask based on its material and fitness is crucial. Various types of masks available in the market feature valves that can create difficulty in breathing and reduce moisture buildup. And according to the expert, this can also spread infection if the person wearing it has a viral infection, such as COVID. Using a mask with specialized materials can also help in protecting against pollutants such as neoprene.
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