In the Light of Bad Air Quality and Airborne Infections: Should You Be Wearing a Face Mask at All?

In the Light of Bad Air Quality and Airborne Infections: Should You Be Wearing a Face Mask at All?
Apr 2020

With all of the amenities that come with urban living, there are also a lot of drawbacks. Two of the more serious problems being bad air quality and airborne infections. Living in densely populated areas or near densely populated areas can have a wide range of effects on people, and may leave you wondering what you can do to protect yourself from some of the preventable outcomes. Let’s start unpacking wearing a face mask.

Face Mask Benefits

There are several benefits to wearing a face mask, that is why many medical professionals, builders and scientists use them while they are working. The number one reason to don a face mask is to keep harmful substances from entering through the nose and mouth. They are a pretty effective and non-invasive first line of defense. If you are concerned about airborne infections, touching your face in public settings or poor air quality, you should wear a face mask. 

For those who have medical conditions, allergies or compromised body systems, you will benefit greatly from wearing a face mask. It can allow you more safety when you have to go out or be in contact with other people. People with delicate respiratory systems may find it more difficult to breathe while wearing a face mask, and should consult with a medical professional before wearing one. Another benefit is 

How Effective Are They?

Sure, disposable face masks can keep contaminants like dust, pollen, certain pathogens and dangerous particles out of your airways, but how effective are they? That is a tricky question to answer. Because masks come in different shapes, sizes and thicknesses, each has their own merits for certain things and certain people. It should also be noted, that since disposable masks aren’t meant for long-term usage, the longer you wear it, the less effective it may become. Respirators or N95 masks may be the better option in cases of severe pollution. These tend to fit more snuggly and are more effective in keeping out toxins.

Proper Usage

Make sure your mask is making contact with your skin, otherwise, gaps can allow what you’re trying to keep out to get in. Also be sure that you have the filter side of the mask facing the proper direction. To keep things out, the filter or white side should be out. When you’re trying to keep your germs to yourself the filter side should be facing you. 

Because face masks create a barrier, they should be treated as contaminated items and properly disposed of. They need to be placed in a thick or rigid plastic bag before being discarded in the trash. You don’t want improper disposal to spread the germs or contaminants you are trying to discourage. 

Whether you choose to wear a face mask is up to you, but in order for it to do its job properly, make sure you know how to use it correctly. It is possible to minimize your exposure to pollution and airborne diseases with a mask, and give yourself a little more peace of mind.