Face masks have become commonplace since the start of the pandemic, with multiple options such as cloth, surgical, and P2 respirators flooding the market. But aside from preventing the transmission of viruses, wearing masks for bushfire smoke is essential in order to prevent particles from entering our lungs.
With the current climate crisis causing extreme weather disasters, we have seen the enormous impact of bushfires throughout Australia. Keeping you and your family protected against the health hazards of bushfire smoke is more pertinent than ever. But when it comes to masks for bushfire smoke, healthdirect.gov.au says it best: only P2 masks will do.
How can bushfire smoke affect your health?
Bushfire smoke creates fine particulate matter (PM), also known as particulate pollution. Particulate pollution is defined by NSW Health as extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in air, made of components such as acids (sulfates and nitrates), soil or dust particles, allergens (fragments of pollen or mold spores), and organic chemicals.
During times of bushfires, air pollution is imminent as the smoke clouds the air with this particulate matter, which can severely damage your health – particularly if you have an existing health condition such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and cardiovascular problems.
Studies have shown that there are numerous negative health effects from being exposed to these particulate matter without wearing the best mask for bushfire smoke.
A recent scientific paper found that short-term exposure (hours and days) can result in increased hospital admissions as well as death from heart or lung diseases. Immediate health effects include coughing, shortness of breath, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. It can also trigger symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, worsen high blood pressure and heart failure, and cause health issues during pregnancy.
There are also numerous effects of long term (years) exposure to particulate matter without wearing the best mask for bushfire smoke. The decreased air quality can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as increasing their rate of progression. It can also reduce lung function and result in a lower life expectancy.
How does wearing masks for bushfire smoke protect you?
There are two main categories of particulate matter that wearing the best mask for bushfire smoke can protect you from: PM10 and PM2.5.
PM10 particles have a diameter of 10 micrometres or less and are small enough to enter the lungs, while PM2.5 particles (with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less) can get deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream. To put these sizes into perspective, the thickness of a human hair is about 75 micrometers.
It’s the PM2.5 particles that are of most concern as these not only enter your lungs but your bloodstream as well. You can experience detrimental health effects if you don’t wear the right masks for bushfire smoke which prevent these PM2.5 particles from entering your system. Because they are so miniscule, most types of face coverings do not prevent them from entering your system. P2 respirators are the best mask for bushfire smoke as they are able to filter out these tiny particles.
Why are P2 masks the best masks for bushfire smoke?
Put simply, most face coverings are useless against the PM2.5 particles that are in the air when bushfires occur. But don’t just take our word for it – NSW Health says the same. This is because the fine particles in the air can easily permeate the material of surgical and cloth masks, as opposed to our AMD P2 respirator, which creates an effective barrier against particulate matter.
With four layers of protection and cutting-edge nanofibre technology, AMD P2 respirators provide the best kind of protection for you and your family – one that’s far more effective than the typical flimsy disposable mask and even cloth masks, which aren’t dense enough to filter out particulate matter.
A cloth or surgical mask typically fits loosely around the face, and can provide some form of protection against the fluid transmission of viruses, but is essentially useless against particulate matter. A British study found that the typical disposable face masks (which are mostly of the surgical kind) Beijing residents wore were ineffective against air pollution. This is mostly because of ‘edge-seal leakage’, whereby particles bypass the filter through small gaps between the edge of the respirator and face.
So why are P2 respirators the best masks for bushfire smoke and air pollution? When properly fitted, our AMD P2 masks provide an air-tight seal around your mouth and nose that protects you by preventing both PM2.5 and PM10 particles from entering your lungs.
At the same time, the nanofibre technology ensures that when you are wearing our AMD P2 respirator, it is still easy to breathe and you have access to filtered air that does not contain particulate matter.
How to make sure your P2 mask is properly fitted to protect against bushfire smoke
In order for P2 masks to be fully effective against these particulate matter, you should conduct a fit test, following these steps:
- Remove your glasses or hats, and tie back your hair to prevent it being tangled in the straps of the P2 mask.
- Put the P2 mask on, ensuring that the side with the wire is over your nose.
- Compress the mask against your face, ensuring that it is tight and properly fitted to provide airtight protection.
- Gently inhale to check the seal of the P2 mask – it should be drawn in towards the face, and there should not be air leaking around the face seal.
P2 masks may be less effective if you have beards or facial hair that prevents proper fitting for airtight protection.
Our AMD P2 respirators are manufactured here in Australia, so purchasing from us means you are supporting Aussie businesses. Manufactured with rigorous testing in accordance with the AS/NZS1716 standards, you can rest assured that you are purchasing the best mask for bushfire smoke and other airborne particles. You can learn more about the nanofibre technology that makes our P2 masks effective against airborne particles and particulate matter here.
To purchase the most protective masks for bushfire smoke and air pollution for you and your family, order a box of fifty AMD P2 respirators today.