Zhuravlev Andrey / ShutterstockA woman wears a cloth mask in the stock image above. (Zhuravlev Andrey / Shutterstock)
To mask or not to mask?
That’s the million dollar question facing many residents of California these days. For most people in the state, wearing a mask in public places has been made mandatory in the name of combating the coronavirus — but the masks recommended to slow the spread of the virus won’t protect residents against smoke inhalation from the recent wildfires.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection: “Cloth masks that are used to slow the spread of COVID-19 by blocking respiratory droplets offer little protections against wildfire smoke. They do not catch small, harmful particles in smoke that can harm your health.”
Instead of cloth masks, the CDC notes that properly fitted N95 respirators do protect against wildfire smoke.
However, N95 masks are often in short supply, as they’re in high demand among health