Masks are not the answer

As smoke from B.C. wildfires continues to choke off much of the province, people are looking for ways to deal with the smoke.

More and more, people are seen wearing masks as a way to combat the tiny particulates related to the smokey skies.

There are some who are suggesting cities, or even health authorities should make masks available to the general public.

However, Interior Health says, in most circumstances, face masks are not recommended.

They cite five reasons to stay away from the standard masks:

  • May make it difficult to breathe normally
  • Can be risky for elderly people and those with existing breathing or heart conditions
  • Do not fit children’s faces properly
  • Cannot be worn properly by people with facial hair
  • Stop working if they get saturated with water or sweat.

If you feel you need to wear face and mouth protection, Interior Health recommends choosing one labeled N95 and particulate respirator.

They say you should ensure the respirator fits properly, used and dirty masks are discarded regularly, and take regular breaks from wearing the masks to allow your body to recover from the increased breathing effort required.

IH recommends people reduce outdoor activities, stay cool and drink plenty of liquids. People with breathing issues should carry medications with them at all times.

According to Environment Canada, the smoke is expected to remain in the area for the foreseeable future.

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