NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — You probably still have a face mask stuffed in your closet from the COVID-19 pandemic, but will it help protect you from the hazy air plaguing Connecticut skies this week?
Your cloth face mask is unlikely to help filter out wildfire smoke, according to a fact sheet from the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit.
A medical face mask may offer some protection. However, the gaps between the mask and your face will still let bad air in. The mask can filter out about 20% to 30% of the smoke particles, according to the fact sheet.
Your best option is to wear a respiratory mask, like a N95 or a P100 mask, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Make sure that the mask is secure, and that it covers your nose and mouth.
The sight — and smell — of wildfire smoke has blown from more than a hundred wildfires raging in Canada. In addition to giving the air an orangish tint, it has also bumped air quality levels in the state up to unhealthy levels, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Multiple cities throughout the state have issued advisories urging people to remain indoors and avoid outdoor activity. Those who have cardiopulmonary disease or are elderly are especially at risk.