Does wearing smoke masks help? - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Does wearing smoke masks help?

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Smoke from Montana's wildfires are traveling all over the US causing people as far east as Ohio to report smoke in their area.  

With that much smoke in the air it's bound to have side effects on our health. So what can we do?  

But a simple mask may not be the answer.

The Montana Department of Environmental quality has many areas in the state listed with hazardous air.

According to the EPA air now website when you wear a dust mask, it doesn't protect your lungs from fine particles in the smoky air. 

The EPA said you need particulate masks then to ensure they are effective you must make sure it fits on your face correctly.
Scott Shandelson manages the ER at Benefis, he said once a dust mask gets wet on the inside from breathing the particles in the smoke will soak through which is why they don't work as lung protectant. 

"The ones that really do filter out smoke and other particulate matter are harder to breath through so you may actually be causing more damage or more problems for yourself by wearing one if not recommended," said Shandelson.

He said here in Great Falls our air quality isn't as bad as other places the state, but people who have preexisting conditions like asthma should have a mask near by.  The air now website said you can find them  at most local hardware stores. 

Shandelson said the main thing is you need to listen to your body, if you're feeling stuffy, or have a headache its time to go inside. Adding with hot dry air you need to remember to stay hydrated.

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