Q: Do respirators and/or masks help?
Yes, but they must be the right kind and they must be worn properly. Respirator masks rated as N95 and P100 can substantially reduce intake of fine particles when worn properly. SURGICAL MASKS ARE NOT EFFECTIVE...
When using an N95 mask, please pay attention to the following considerations: — If you have a medical condition that makes it hard for you to breathe, consult your doctor before using a respirator. And note that respirators are not sized or recommended for children. — Make sure there is a good fit and seal. You should only use N95 masks with two straps; a single strap cannot seal adequately. If one doesn’t fit right, try another brand. Simple tests on the fit are whether can you see gaps around the edges and whether you still smell smoke while wearing it. Facial hair interferes with a proper seal and may reduce effectiveness. — Some respirators have a valve that makes it easier to breathe. These typically cost $3 or less when buying individually and $2.50 or less when buying in bulk. One example of this type is the 3MTM Particulate Respirator 8210V. — Even when wearing a respirator, you should limit time outdoors and avoid vigorous activities. Heavier breathing interferes with the seal and can make them ineffective. — Don’t wear a respirator that makes it very difficult for you to breathe. They are usually uncomfortable but you should be able to breathe without distress.
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