Since the volcanic eruption of Taal, many communities were put in a crisis due to the ash fall and poor air quality level in as far as the cities in the metro. This resulted to a surge in the demand for N95 masks in the market, which eventually increased in price from P25 to as much as P200.
In the market, common masks include the simple fabric mask found in convenient stores called the Dura mask, the 3M mask model 8210 and model 9002A classified as N95 masks. These masks are able to filter out over 87 – 96 % of the PM2.5 dust in the air, which can enter directly into the body, surpassing the breathing system as it is so tiny.
The problem is that the demand for N95 masks are so high and there are not enough proper masks for everyone in the metro and nearby areas. This has caused great health issues for people who have no choice but to use a normal Dura mask that can filter out only about 48% of PM2.5 dust and some citizens choose not to wear any protection at all when outside.
A research by Prof. Dr. Usanee Vinijkejkumnuan from the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Medicine has helped find a solution for the lack of N95 masks stock in Bangkok and nearby provinces in 2019. In a report by Tanyaporn R. in thairesidents.com, the research has helped many people find a smart and simple solution.
The solution: to place two layers of tissue inside the Dura mask between your face and the mask, this improves the ability to filter tiny dust particles up to about 75–90%, almost the same as an N95 mask.
This option is also great for those who feel that N95 masks are very hard to breathe through all day and those who feel pain on their head and behind the ears when wearing an N95 mask. The Dura mask with two layers of tissue in between is very comfortable to wear with almost the same filter efficiency as the much more expensive and hard to find N95 mask.
However, whatever mask you use in this critical times, the FDA has some reminders. First, the use of masks and surgical N95 respirators alone will not fully protect you from acquiring an infection or any other adverse effects of the ash fall. Other control practices such as hand-washing, avoiding exposure to ash fall, and heeding other medical advisory from the Department of Health, are also important to minimize your risk of health problems.
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