Can the surgical masks we’re wearing to avoid Covid-19 infection protect us from the negative effects of PM 2.5? Health experts recommend that residents of Delhi-NCR switch to N95 masks for complete protection from dangerous AQI levels.
For over a week, DelhiNCR has been plagued by air pollution and covered in smog. Masks, already used to protect against the coronavirus, are now a must to protect against deadly pollution.
However, experts say regular masks need to be replaced. Apollo Hospital’s senior pulmonologist, Dr Rajesh Chawla, said particulate matter (PM) levels in most of the capital have reached “dangerous levels” and masks need to be changed quickly. “Two major components in the air are PM 10 and PM 2. The levels of PM 2.5 in most parts of Delhi have reached dangerous levels,” said Dr. Chawla.
“PM 2.5 is a very fine particle. When it enters your body, it can reach the lungs’ periphery and even the alveoli (internal parts of lungs). And it can react and cause a lot of destruction. It can also be absorbed into the blood from there,” Dr Chawla, who heads the Respiratory and Critical Care Department at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital, explained.