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How Effective Does the Mask Protect You from the Dangers of Air Pollution?

Lately, air pollution levels in Jakarta have increased. As a result, people are at risk of exposure to bad air that affects their health. One way to avoid air pollution is to use an anti-pollution mask.

Does the use of masks really protect you from the dangers of air pollution? Check out the answers below.

The types of masks are respirator masks and simple masks. How do these two masks work to filter out air pollution?

Respirator mask
Respirator masks are a type of anti-pollution mask that can filter out pollutants and fine particles up to 95%. That is why, this mask is also called the N95 mask.

"Respiratory masks can indeed filter fine particles up to 2.5 PM (Particular matter), but cannot filter gas. For sensitive groups, such as people with respiratory infections and workers outside the room, it is highly recommended to wear this type of mask, "said Dr. Agus.

"Although it is very effective at reducing the risk of pollution hazards, respirator masks are not recommended for children, pregnant women, and the elderly. This is because these masks tend to be very tight in order to filter the air perfectly, "he added.

If worn by children, pregnant women, or the elderly, masks that are too tight can cause breathing difficulties.

Simple mask
Not only respirator masks, there are other types of masks that you normally see and wear when traveling, which is a simple mask.

Simple mask is a type of mask that is simpler and easier to find than respirator masks. However, this mask is only able to filter out pollutants and large particles of 30-40%.

According to Dr. Agus, simple masks can only be used for disposables and should not be washed because they can widen the pores of the filter.

Although not as effective as a respirator mask in filtering air, this one anti-pollution mask is enough if it is very difficult to find a respirator mask.

Flu masks and surgical masks
In addition to respirator masks and simple masks, many people wear flu masks and surgical masks as anti-pollution masks.

Although it looks the same, flu masks and surgical masks have fewer filter layers compared to simple masks.

"Basically, flu masks and surgical masks function as inhibitors of the spread of infection, not air filters. Therefore, when you are outside the room and you use it as an anti-pollution mask, of course its function is not as good as a respirator and simple mask, "said the chairman of the Indonesian Lung Doctors Association.

Anti pollution mask vs. face cloth
In addition to masks, many fabric masks or buffs are now sold as anti-pollution, especially among motorcycle users.

Regarding this matter, dr. Agus explained that the cloth mask or buff that you often see is used as a face shield, especially the mouth.

However, its ability is relatively low because masks sold in the market generally do not have a filter in the middle.

That is why, respirator masks are still superior to anti-pollution masks when the air quality is not healthy.

How to wear the correct mask
So far, there are two anti-pollution masks that effectively filter the air and reduce pollution hazards, namely respirator masks and simple masks.

Both masks can filter out harmful particles in the air. However, these benefits can be obtained if you use them correctly.

Here is how to use the correct mask so that the maximum benefits.

Respirator mask
There are several things to consider when using a respirator mask, namely:
  • The duration of use of the respirator mask is only 7-8 hours. More than that, the quality of its function will decrease.
  • Put on properly until you feel the mask sticking to your face.
  • A simple mask leak test can be done by spraying perfume around you. The smell of perfume that stung indicates you have not used it properly.
  • Men are encouraged to shave their beards before using a mask because it is feared fine particles are already stuck there.
  • Cover the nose and mouth and tie the two straps of the mask to the ear that function as a barrier.
Simple mask 
This mask is a disposable mask. So, don't try to wash and reuse it.

Simple mask can also be an alternative for children and pregnant women as an anti-pollution mask.

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