As air pollution levels continue to worsen in New Delhi 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,” explains Satkam Divya, CEO, KlinicApp.
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. Follow Delhi, NCR pollution LIVE Updates
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
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.
Price: Rs 90 to 150 each.
Reusability: Can be used for 2-3 days if used regularly.
Sizes: One size
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.
N99 and N100
N99 and N100 masks filter PM2.5 like fine pollutant particles with 99-99.97 per cent accuracy. But these masks are not resistant against oil-based pollutants. However, finding an N100 mask is harder and one may have to contact an industrial supplier for buying it.
Price: Rs 1,800 to 2,800
Reusability: Works for 5-6 months if used regularly. It can also be washed.
Sizes: From XS to XL
P95 and R95 Masks
These masks are preferably used in industrial spaces for filtering high-pollutants. While the P-rated masks are resistant to oil-based pollutants, the R-rated masks are unable to filter oil-based contaminants. However, P masks are way costlier than N masks and need to be replaced frequently.
Price: Rs 10,900 for a pack of 10 masks.
Reusability: Can be used for 8 hours
This is a high-tech anti-pollution mask designed for combating the growing epidemic of air pollution. However, it is not commonly available.
Price: Rs 2,000 to 2,500 each
Reusability: Can be reused
Sizes: Various sizes
N95 aura particulate respirator
It filters PM 2.5 particulate matter and is good for people who feel suffocated after wearing a mask. It provides good ventilation.
Cost: Rs 150 to 200 each
Reusability: Could be used for 4-5 days
Sizes: One size
The Respro masks efficiently filter the particulate matter- PM 10. These masks are favourable for athletes or sportspersons.
Cost: Rs 750 to 1,000
Reusability: Can be used for 69 hours
Sizes: Available in three basic sizes
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.