Those Masks You're Using Against The Smog? Here’s How Useful They Really Are

By Sajeer Shaikh | 14 Nov, 2017

After the smog in Lahore wreaked havoc last year, it’s made an appearance once more in 2017.

Source: Danyal Gilani/Twitter

The seemingly never-ending smog that has shrouded Lahore has left multiple people worried. Citizens are now aware of the risk the smog poses to their health.

People are trying their best to either find out how to take the necessary precautions or are helping others figure out a way to stay safe.

This has become all the more imperative, especially since it has been declared by pollution trackers that the fog has reached its worst level this year so far.

Moreover, inhaling the air has been said to be worse than smoking 50 cigarettes a day. 

And we all know that’s A LOT.


If that wasn’t enough, satellite images have been released by NASA, showing the magnitude of the smog. 


While people are scrambling to protect themselves, they’re making one major mistake. They’re doing so without any knowledge of what exactly they’re up against. 

Currently, the air Lahoris are breathing in contains PM2.5. The levels of PM2.5 have reached around 1,077 micrograms per cubic meter, as reported by The New York Times. This number is more than 30 times what is considered to be the safe limit by the government of Pakistan.


So, what exactly is PM2.5 and why is it dangerous?

Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) is essentially an air pollutant. When its levels are above a certain limit, it is considered to be exceedingly dangerous for health. PM2.5 particles are tiny and they reduce visibility, causing the air to appear hazy. These particles can penetrate into the respiratory tract and reach the lungs.


Short-term health hazards affect the eye, nose, and throat. The following could occur as a result:

  • Lung irritation
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Shortness of breath

Exposure to PM2.5 can also worsen preexisting conditions related to the lungs or the heart. Long-term exposure could be associated with:

  • Increased rates of chronic bronchitis
  • Reduced lung function
  • Increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease
Source: Twitter/PTI

How do you protect yourself from this?

Surgical masks do little to nothing to help you stay safe with such elevated levels of PM2.5. A PM2.5 mask is needed in such a case to prevent the entry of the particles into your respiratory tract. This comprehensive guide explains further how you should choose a mask for protection.


Twitter account, @LahoreSmog tweeted a picture of a PM2.5 filter in use after ONE day of running errands in Lahore. The results are evident.

The same account also tweeted about where these masks could possibly be available. 

However, please make sure you’re making a safe and reliable purchase, should you choose to pursue this option.

The conditions of the city are such that there is no option but to take precautionary methods. Here’s hoping everyone’s just a little safer after giving this article a read.

Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.


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