May 12

Fight the Haze: Things You Need to Know about N95 Masks

Singaporeans should stay prepared when it comes to fighting the haze. You do not know when it will attack again so it is better to stay prepared. The good news is that starting on May 6, 2014, every household here in Singapore will be given free N95 masks. The masks will be delivered in their mailbox. That is convenient.

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The giving of free N95 masks is a community project carried out by different organizations like SingPost, Singapore Power and the Temasek Cares. These organizations will give at least 1.2 million of starter kits to be distributed nationwide. 17,000 starter kits will also be provided to more than one hundred forty charity homes across the island. The starter kits contain 3 N95 masks and emergency numbers (police, dengue and civil defence hotlines) in case you need their help.

The N95 masks will not be the traditional version (the cup-shaped ones). It will be a flat-fold mask but the function and the efficacy is the same. Here are the things that you need to know about N95 masks:

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  • Effects of N95 masks: Coping with N95 mask is not easy but it is not that difficult either. There are others who experience discomfort when they use the mask because it increases your effort in breathing. For elderly people, people with heart & lung conditions and pregnant women, there might be breathing issues. N95 is not recommended for children. When there is haze, it is better that they stay indoors.
  • Different types of N95 masks: The good news is that there are different types and brands of N95 masks available in the market these days. The Ministry of Health has worked with different manufacturers to safeguard the supply of N95 masks here. People should only buy and use N95 as per advice of the Ministry. There is a national stockpile of N95 from Draeger, 3M and Kimberly-Clark.
  • Choosing the right masks: As mentioned earlier, you should only consider the masks approved by the Ministry to ensure its functionality and its efficacy. You can choose from the different colours, sizes and shapes available in the market.
  • How to fit the mask: It is important for the N95 to fit right. You have to make sure that the mask is fitted properly. You have to check if the mask totally covers the mouth and nose comfortably without any leak.

Masks are recommended for use when the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) reaches the hazardous range – more than 300. If you want to know the present PSI , you should go directly to National Environment Agency’s website. The numbers will indicate the air quality.

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