Due to her asthma, Marianne Hubbard is making sure she wears a mask during the smoky conditions currently enveloping the Trail area. Guy Bertrand photo

Only certain masks protect against forest fire smoke

Masks must be rated ‘N95’ and labeled a particulate respirator to protect against wildfire smoke

All masks are not created equal.

For those choosing face protection against the ongoing smoky air, a surgical or paper mask commonly found on pharmacy shelves, will do nothing to help.

Masks must be rated ‘N95’ and should also be labeled a ‘particulate respirator.’

Additionally, the mask – or particulate respirator- must fit correctly as outlined in the products’ instructions then discarded after use.

Interior Health advises mask wearers to take regular breaks from use, so the body can recover from the increased breathing effort required. Re-use is not recommended and dirty masks must be regularly discarded.

Breathing smoky air can cause negative health effects because wildfire smoke contains tiny particulates that when inhaled into lungs, can cause irritation and symptoms like coughing or wheezing.

Smoke is especially problematic for those with breathing, heart, and circulation illnesses.

However, healthy people can also be affected, particularly pregnant women, children, the elderly and outdoor workers.

Also, the fire does not have to be close for a person to be affected – if the skies are smoky, there’s a risk.

The health authority advises the public to speak with their doctor prior (during) a smoke event if they want to wear a mask.

In most circumstances masks are not recommended for a number of reasons that include: may make it difficult to breathe normally; can be risky for elderly people and those with existing breathing or heart conditions; N95s cannot be properly worn by people with facial hair; and they stop working if saturated with water or sweat.

Interior Health maintains the best protection during smoky events is to seek cleaner air indoors and consider investing in a HEPA air filtration system, or leave the area entirely. As the latter two may not be practical for most, the health authority suggests it may help to simply stay indoors and reduce physical activity.

Just Posted

Hydro lines down impacting traffic on the Kootenay Pass

Hydro lines are down near Moyie along the Kootenay Pass.

Scary good

Signs of Halloween are already popping up around downtown Trail

Riverfront Centre; Big impact on property taxes

Trail is reviewing service levels at new library complex before making budget decisions

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

Trail reviews safety protocols in light of Fernie arena tragedy

Robert Baker: ”Trail’s plant is fully automated…any defect…will shut down respective equipment.”

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

B.C. woman plagued by bedbugs on airplane not surprising, says expert

Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight when she noticed bedbugs crawling out of the seat

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Outspoken Mountie assigned to admin duties for refusing to shave goatee

The 15-year veteran of the force said he believes the RCMP is targeting him

Victim in fatal ammonia leak remembered for his passion and smile

Friends and colleagues remember Lloyd Smith as someone who was always willing to help people

Most Read