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There are those occasions when you are out in public and see people wearing a mask; the mind goes to a dozen different reasons as to why someone is wearing a mask. Are they sick or contagious? Is someone they know sick? Why are they out in public? Should I be wearing a mask? Do they really work? The questions are endless as to why someone would be wearing a mask in public, but the answers quite simple. There are many reasons that a mask is recommend to protect your immune systems; Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer, Lung transplants, dander, pollen, allergies, pollution, germs, smoke; the reasons are endless. One of the best reasons to wear masks are due to the germs and particles in the air but the ones that we can’t see are the ones we need to be concerned about and that is where a mask comes into play. 

      The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has different classifications for heavy duty masks; Basic Face masks, Respirator Masks and actual Respirators. Basic face masks are similar to the ones that dentists wear preventing the spread of germs, particles of dust and matter but don’t filter out microscopic substances. Respirator Masks are identical to face masks however they are form fitting and have a snug fit around the edges, N95 or N99 masks are common respirator masks that when tested filter out 95%-99% of small particle matter. Actual Respirators provide either purified air or supply you with air these masks are typically worn by firefighters or people working with hazardous material. Taking into account the bulkiness of a true respirator it could become a nuisance when wearing it out in public; that why most purchase respirator masks. Statistically people are 85% less likely to catch the flu when a mask is worn properly. Masks give a barrier between your face and hands, which is how most germs and viruses are spread; having this barrier could help you be more mindful when touching a surface and not washing your hands. Only 5% of people wash their hands correctly and up to 80% of communicable diseases are transferable by touch; not washing hands correctly adds to nearly 50% of all food borne illness outbreaks. 

      When is a mask a must you might ask? Masks can protect you from air pollution, allergens, pollen, dander, dust, strong smells, etc. Family and friends who are around those with an illness that can’t afford to get sick, residents of California and other states that have wildfires, those who have asthma and live in cold dry climates; there is not a person or group of people who wouldn’t benefit from wearing a mask. Having a mask, filters out those particles in the air that aggravate the respiratory system causing stress on the body making it harder to prevent diseases. Most masks retain a certain amount of moisture, which is good considering as seasons change the sir proceeds to get colder and dryer, and dry air is another disease factor. 

     Lung and Cancer patients are sometimes required to wear a face mask; lung patients need to breathe clean air in order to breathe better. For those with weakened immune systems, masks help prevent you from inhaling harmful germs and having further medical complications. Cancer patients have a long list of things they can’t do or places they can’t go, but staying house or hospital bound isn’t easy, so when they go out they need to protect their immune systems. A cancer patient’s immune system is weak and immune to germs in the air; a mask can shorten the lists of don’ts for someone with cancer. Wearing a mask when you are sick is very vital in order to prevent germs from spreading, when you cough or even sneeze particles of saliva and mucus that carry airborne viruses are released into the air. Things such as air pollution can cause negative impacts on the heart and lungs’, being that air pollution is made up of particles and gases we should be concerned about the impacts of those fine particles, 2.5 microns, which we can’t see. Not only does wearing a mask product your body from catching germs, it help those who have allergies, people who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, running, snowboarding, etc. There are many sports where wearing a face mask can come in handy, more people wear masks not realizing how much it protects their body and immune systems from particles in the air. 

      With everything we’ve gone over its safe to say that there are many benefits to wearing a mask they say “Every breath we take is a blessing”, but if you have trouble breathing wear a mask and you’ll have double the blessings.


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