During occasions of poor air high quality, many individuals choose to cover their mouth and nostril to protect themselves from breathing in wildfire smoke. Nonetheless, not all masks and facial coverings actually protect the lungs from the harmful respirable particles present in wildfire smoke. Here’s a breakdown of the intended use and stage of protection offered by each:

Paper mud masks: Additionally called surgical masks, these loose-fitting masks have only one strap and don’t type a tight seal to the wearer’s face. They’re designed to stop liquid droplets and aerosols popping out of the wearer’s mouth, not filter the air coming in. With no filter and no facial seal, they don’t seem to be designed to stop the inhalation of respirable particles present in smoke. Although they may look the identical, mud masks aren’t respirators and should not be used for that purpose.
N95s and P100s: These respirators have sets of straps and type a decent seal to the face. Your complete respirator is made of filtering material. N95s are the commonest, with P100s being more protective (much like a HEPA filter). Both types can usually be present in hardware stores and different retail outlets. These respirators are certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), so search for “NIOSH” and the designation “N95” or “P100” on the respirator.
When worn appropriately, these respirators are efficient at filtering out the small respirable particles present in wildfire smoke. However, they don’t filter out fumes and gases; for that, see the following type of respirator listed.

Half-face or full-face respirator: Unlike N95s and P100s, which are disposable, half-face and full-face respirators offer a decent-fitting, versatile facepiece with exchangeable filter cartridges. N95 particulate filters or purple (P100 or HEPA) filter cartridges will protect against particulates in wildfire smoke. When used with a combination filter that has an organic vapor cartridge, these respirators would additionally protect in opposition to harmful fumes and gases. Nonetheless, neither these respirators nor N95s provide oxygen.
Steps for Using an N95 or P100 Respirator Correctly

Place the respirator over your nostril and under your chin, with one strap under the ears and one strap above. If you’re wearing a hat, place it over the straps.
Pinch the metal nose clip tightly over the top of your nose.
Replace the respirator when it turns into damaged, soiled or more difficult to breathe through. It may be essential to make use of a contemporary respirator daily.
For a respirator to provide protection, it should kind a decent seal around the mouth and nose. Facial hair doesn’t enable a tight fit, so wearers ought to be clean-shaven. Respirators can increase risk for different medical circumstances because it is more troublesome to breathe through them. For those who feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous, first tell somebody, then go to a less smoky area, remove your respirator and search medical attention.

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