Connect with us

Air Pollution

Air Pollution And COVID-19: Is It About Time To Shift From Cloth Mask To Pollution Safe N95 Or N99 Mask?

A recent Harvard study has shown that people with COVID-19 who live in regions with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the disease than people who live in less polluted areas

Air Pollution And COVID-19 Is It About Time To Shift From Cloth Mask To Pollution Safe N95 Or N99 Mask
Highlights
  • The number of COVID-19 cases is likely to rise with increase in pollution
  • Cloth masks offer only 30% hood against pollutants: Dr Mehta, Apollo
  • Surgical masks are not capable of filtering smaller particles: Dr Maurya

New Delhi: Come winters and the problem of air pollution especially in the national capital Delhi and neighbouring areas intensifies. This year, India has there is an added crisis – the Coronavirus pandemic. According to health experts, air pollution is likely to fuel COVID-19 pandemic resulting in an increase in cases. Explaining the link between the two, Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and Head of Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh said, “All respiratory viruses increase during winters and pollution, so it is quite obvious that the number of COVID-19 cases will increase with pollution. Smaller particles tend to attach themselves with the virus that stays in the air for a longer period of time. A recent Harvard study has also shown that people with COVID-19 who live in regions with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the disease than people who live in less polluted areas.”

Also Read: Air Pollution Leads To An Increase In COVID Deaths, According To Harvard University Study, Experts Say ’Pollution Can Hinder Country’s COVID Fight’

Dr Ravindra M Mehta, Senior Consultant and HOD – Pulmonology & Interventional Pulmonology at Apollo Speciality Hospitals in Jayanagar, Bengaluru further added, pollution is acting in consent with COVID-19. Talking about the upcoming danger, Dr Mehta said,

The virus will affect people in areas where there is greater pollution and pollution by itself can cause damage to the lungs.

One of the three basic COVID precautionary measures is wearing a face mask. According to the government guidelines, a homemade cloth based face mask can perform the job well and one doesn’t need to buy surgical masks or N95 or N99 masks. But is a cloth mask the right fit to battle the double whammy of COVID-19 and air pollution? Medical experts believe it’s time to move to other types of masks because cloth fails to block pollutants like particulate matter.

Explaining the level of protection provided by different kinds of masks, Dr Mehta said,

Cloth masks offer only 30 per cent hood against pollutants whereas surgical masks are 70 to 80 per cent effective. N95 masks without a valve can be worn to protect oneself against COVID-19 and air pollution.

Also Read: 73% Of Delhi-NCR Residents’ Family Members Are Facing Air Pollution Related Ailments, Experts Say The Number Will Rise

Though surgical masks are better than cloth masks, they only take care of larger particles. For filtration of smaller particles like particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) – tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two-and one-half microns or less in width – N95 and N99 masks are deemed right. The code 95 and 99 denote that the mask is capable of filtering 95 and 99 per cent of the particulate matter.

Dr Maurya said that if we had just air pollution, we could go for masks with a valve but, right now, since we have both COVID-19 and pollution, we need to choose masks without a valve. Further giving out the reason behind the same, Dr Samir Garde, Consultant Respiratory Medicine, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre said,

Masks with valves may be protective for the one who wears but detrimental for the next person since the person wearing it can exhale viruses through it and the person next to him/her would be exposed to the infection.

Also Read: Spell Of Heavy Smog In Indian Capital Raises Fears For COVID-19 Patients

While giving out more details of the mask in terms of type and reusability, Vikas Bagaria, Founder, Pee Safe, a brand that manufactures anti-pollution masks, said,

Cloth masks and surgical masks are three layer masks. For pollution, a minimum of 5 ply mask with a filter in it is recommended. Each layer serves a different purpose – one filters dust particles, another absorbs extra moisture, gases, so on and so forth. N95 and N99 masks are reusable but not washable. Usually, the inner layer of the mask is white in colour so when that turns grey, you have to discard it. On average, you can use a mask for 30 days but remember you cannot wash it.

When asked whether one should wear a mask indoors, all four experts NDTV interviewed said ‘no’. Dr Maurya said that indoor air pollution not only depends on the outdoor air circulating inside but also on other factors like smoking in a room or using wood burning stove (Chulha). Both Dr Maurya and Dr Mehta said that if one takes care of indoor air and the sources of pollutants, then the level of air pollution will come down, and masks would not have to be recommended at that point.

Also Read: Study Estimates Exposure To Air Pollution Increases COVID-19 Deaths By 15 Per Cent Worldwide

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

Coronavirus Outbreak: Full CoverageTesting CentresFAQs

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Highlights From The 12-Hour Telethon

Leaving No One Behind

Mental Health

Environment

Join Us