Health experts in Utah believe that wearing a surgical mask during the winter inversion may not be effective, despite many people choosing to use them to protect themselves against air pollution.
Masks considered effective makes breathing more difficult, as they need to be tight-fitting and have fine filters to block small particles. Hence, wearing them on a daily basis while doing physical activities may cause more harm than good.
On the other hand, wearing basic surgical masks does not protect you entirely from polluted air. Many of these respirators can remove 95% of particles from air pollution, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not endorse any of them.
Instead, an air filter system or furnace replacement here in Utah serves among the better options, according to Brian Moench, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment president.
Moench said that an electronic filter might solve the issue of air pollution at home due to the winter inversion, without the need to wear surgical masks. Likewise, replacing or upgrading your furnace also prevents particles from spreading around the house.
This year’s winter inversions have particularly affected Northern Utah, where air pollution has been heavy. Cold and stagnant air that settles in mountain basins causes an inversion, which then traps tailpipe emissions resulting in a polluted haze throughout urban areas.
While a one-size-fits-all solution does not yet exist, Moench said that households could do their part to protect the atmosphere. This includes not burning wood and spending less time with your car on the road.
Air pollution during winter can have worse effects on your health, as it could increase the likelihood of contracting allergies and respiratory diseases. Some preventive measures will not require you to spend money, although you should consider investing in air filters or furnace replacements.