If you live in a place with high pollution levels, you’re probably familiar with all of the ways to cope with this major public health issue. You can invest in an air purifier, clean regularly, stay inside, and wear a mask if you have to go out. But if you’re an athlete or a person who likes the outdoors, staying inside can keep you from doing what you love. So what is the solution for athletes and people who like to enjoy the outdoors?
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the common concerns of people who live in places with high pollution.
One of the biggest worries people have about wearing a pollution mask is that we won’t be able to breathe. The thought of covering our noses and mouths seems like it may be uncomfortable or cause shortness of breath. Dr. Evelyn Lewin and many other doctors have done research that addresses our concerns. In an article she published in October 2020 she explains that face masks don’t affect gas exchange, which basically means we still get the air we need while wearing a mask. This is good news. However, that doesn’t make them any easier to wear. This is not so good news.
In hot weather, they can get too hot. In the cold weather, the moisture from your breath can freeze, making the mask uncomfortable and less effective. They are sealed on all sides of the face, which can make you feel smothered. Or alternatively, improperly sealed masks can send warm air up into your eyes. In general, they just seem quite uncomfortable and not worth wearing despite heavy pollution.
Our worries about wearing masks are real concerns. These concerns inspired doctors and research experts all over the world to research and explain how wearing masks can affect our breathing and our lives. Even though doctors have found that masks allow us to get the air we need, they are still uncomfortable, which can cause us anxiety.
Canada-based lung specialist Christpher Ewing tells us that when we feel discomfort, the way we breathe can change. He says that it is important to give ourselves time to get used to wearing masks. It’s like taking time to get used to a new pair of glasses.
Pollution masks can stop pollution from entering your lungs and affecting your entire body in several ways.
Using the methods above, an effective pollution mask should filter pollutants of at least 2.5 microns in size in order to truly be an anti-pollution mask.
But can pollution masks really protect us as athletes?
Short answer: Yes.
The longer answer is dependent on if the mask is well constructed and even better fitted. Tight stitching is paramount as well as the layering of the fabric. If the mask doesn’t fit properly, it is essentially useless against pollution.
Masks should also be tested by accredited third party institutions to be sure that they can filter pollutants at least as small as 2.5 microns in size. That is the size of many of the most harmful particles that need to be functionally trapped by a good pollution mask. If they can, then you have found a good pollution mask.
A key point in a pollution mask for an athlete is comfort. This is also protection as an uncomfortable mask we don’t want to wear is not protection at all. A good mask for our outdoor adventures needs to be comfortable.
NAROO knows what athletes need: a breathable, functional pollution mask that will let them exercise safely. With that in mind, we created the F Series, which is a set of filtering masks that address the concerns of mask wearers, and of sports people wanting to head outdoors.
If you’re a sports person who lives in a place with high pollution, let NAROO filtering masks protect your airways as you take a walk or a jog, hit the bike trails, or whatever other sort of outdoor activity you’d like to perform. Our F series masks are made for your safety and comfort.
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