Expert weighs in on mask effectiveness

COURTESY: HECTOR MENDOZA (KIEM)

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM)- Masks are a big part of our life. We know that they help protect against COVID-19, but do they help us against the bad air quality.

Since the fires, the air quality has been at unhealthy levels and the question that has been circulating is, do the masks that we use protect us from both COVID-19 and the bad air quality?

Dr. Stephanie Dittmer, a family medicine physician, says that the N95 masks are the best masks to protect against the smoke and the virus, but it is very hard to get a hold of those masks.

“It’s really hard to get N95’s for everybody,” said Dr. Dittmer. “So we’ve been suggesting having the cloth coverings, the two layer cotton coverings, or the procedure masks that you can buy now at retail environments.”

The cloth masks are the masks that she and her colleagues have been recommending but if you are able to get an N95 masks they would say those are preferable.

There are masks that Dr. Dittmer did say to stay away from. There are masks that are made with a one way valve to help breathe a little better. The problem with those masks, according to Dr. Dittmer, is that it allows you to breathe out and let out all the air that’s in the mask, putting others at risks.

The one thing that Dr. Dittmer wants to emphasis is to use the masks anytime you go outside and to stay away from any sort of gatherings to help stop the spread of this virus.