We, the residents of Delhi, are officially done with the city! The state of pollution is as bad as smoking 50 cigarettes a day, and so the city’s doctors have declared a state of public health emergency. Schools have been shut and everyone has been advised to stay indoors. However, that isn’t a pragmatic, or even a practically possible solution - forcing people to steer clear of their daily routines; most of which has everything to do with making a livelihood. It’s like asking us not to step out, lest we get harassed; sorry for the extreme comparison; but, it’s true.
So, what do we do while the government sits on their warm and comfy seats, in their plush homes, while the commoners have to go out and make a living, without which surviving becomes difficult?
You can start by not forgetting to carry a mask that’ll help protect your body from going through the damage caused by the hazardous air. But not the typical surgical masks, because they are honestly of no help. “They are primarily intended to protect a patient; not the doctor (wearer), from the saliva and respiratory secretions. Also, designed to cover the mouth and nose loosely, such masks aren't sized for individual fit and are not NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved,” said Dr B Varshini from Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai.
So I sat down with Dr Varshini and we compiled a list of the top five masks that are available online and guarantee at least a certain amount of safety, each in its own way.
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With three sealing surfaces and one air filter layer, this mask offers 95% protection and blocks PM 2.5 dust (PM 2.5 tends to stay the longest in the air and can lead to plaque deposit in your nose, throat, lungs or even the arteries and can lead to a heart attack), haze, bacteria, influenza viruses.
This mask provides protection against non oil-based pollutants. It is recommended to change the mask every three days or before, if it begins to look dirty.
The N99CV, in which ‘C’ stands for activated carbon filter, apart from combating foul smell, this filter helps in fighting pollutants like Ozone and Sulphur Dioxide. And the ‘V’ means that the mask has a built-in valve for the air we exhale, which prevents fogging or moisture retention inside the mask is an overall effective though expensive pick.
This is a N-rated mask, which is different from the P95 and P99 masks. While the P-rated has the ability to filter out oil-based pollutants (car fumes), the N-rated air masks can not.
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