County Giving Out Particulate Masks for Smoke

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Smoke is a big deal right now in many places across the west. In Oregon, Deschutes County Health Services and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are distributing N95 particulate masks to local fire departments to share with people who need to be outside for short periods of time.
The masks are different then the typical dust or surgical mask. “Particulate respirators” filter out dangerous air particles that are found in smoke. The masks can also be found at hardware stores and are marked with N95 or P100 ratings. 
While a mask like this may be helpful, it is not a solution to the smoky conditions.  The best bet is still to stay inside. Heather Kaisner, Deschutes County health information officer, says, “They’re pretty uncomfortable, and they can be pretty hard to breathe in.”  She adds that they are really only for short term use, for people who don’t have underlying medical conditions.