Haze: N95 masks give better protection, says expert

PETALING JAYA - People should wear the N95 mask to eliminate haze particles completely as ordinary face masks would hardly protect the wearer effectively, said consultant cardiologist Tan Sri Dr Ridzwan Bakar.

He said this was because haze particles mostly consisted of fine particles, which were 2.5 micrometres or smaller (a grain of sand is about 2,000 micrometres).

"An ordinary face mask, whether single-ply, double-ply or triple-ply, will not be effective. It is designed to keep the germs in and should be worn by those having viral illnesses like flu," he said.

However, he said they might be adequate for healthy individuals who stayed indoors most of the time, adding that the inhalation of haze particles would be reduced with these masks.

N95 masks, on the other hand, are designed to eliminate 95 per cent of particles as small as 0.1 micrometres.

He advised that such masks were a must for those with lung problems, reduced immunity or those who worked outdoors for prolonged periods.

"It must be tight-fitting and is rather uncomfortable to wear over long periods as extra effort is sometimes needed to inhale," he said, adding that the N95 mask must be fitted properly because it would defeat the purpose if air could enter from the sides.

"People with chronic lung condition need to consult their doctors before wearing the N95 mask because it takes a lot more effort to breathe."

During the current hazy situation, he reminded the public that adequate hydration was vital in helping the removal of haze particles in their lungs.

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