Now that summer is here, the threat of wildfires is on the minds of people in many parts of the United States. When wildfires burn, they often devastate hundreds or thousands of acres, and smoke can spread and can affect people many miles away from sites that are burning. A wildfire smoke mask might protect you from adverse health effects.

How Smoke from Wildfires Can Affect People’s Health

Wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, eyes, nose, and throat. Smoke can travel far from burning areas and can lead to coughing and wheezing. It can also trigger asthma attacks and respiratory and cardiac events. Children, senior citizens, and individuals with preexisting heart and lung conditions are at greatest risk of complications from wildfire smoke.

How a Mask May Be Able to Protect You

If you can see or smell smoke, air pollution is at a dangerous level. A mask may help you protect yourself from serious health problems.

Smoke from wildfires contains a large amount of particulate matter. An N95 or P100 respirator mask can filter out most of the small particles in smoke that could harm your lungs. Dust or surgical mask cannot. Choose a mask that has been certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

How to Choose a Mask and Make Sure It Fits

Look for a mask that can fit over your nose and under your chin. The mask should have two straps and should form a tight seal around your face to protect you. Follow the instructions included with the mask to get a tight seal.

If you have a heart or lung condition, talk to your doctor before wearing a mask since that could make it harder to breathe. A mask with a relief valve may help if you have trouble breathing.

Respirator masks may not work well for everyone. Individuals with facial hair may not be able to get a strong enough seal to keep out dangerous particles. Masks also may not fit well on children.

Order Respirator Masks to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

If a wildfire is burning and the air is polluted with smoke, the best option is to stay indoors. If you must go outside, a mask may protect you, provided it is the appropriate type and fits correctly. A mask that does not fit properly may provide little protection from wildfire smoke, or it may provide no protection at all.

Respond Systems sells a variety of products that can help workers and the general public stay safe in hazardous conditions. Respirator masks can provide some protection from wildfire smoke. If you live in an area that has been affected by wildfires, or if you are concerned that there might be wildfires where you live this season, order respirator masks today. Respond Systems can also help with respirator fit testing services.