As I type this, I’m looking out my windows into a haze of nondescript gray haze. It looks much like the photo above of the Utah State Capitol, which is at the same elevation as where I live.
I downloaded the Utah Air app for my phone and watch with increasing dismay at the hazardous levels of air quality in our city. Theo’s school is keeping kids inside for recess during the day. I have a scratch in my throat and congestion that I fear is due to the conditions outside rather than a virus. It’s sad to say that it’s come to this, but I’ve started to do a little research about face masks, especially for kids.
Here are a few choices I’ve discovered:
- You can purchase at the link above or they are sold on Amazon
- They have a wide range of sizes, starting from XS (10-24 lbs), S (25-50 lbs) and M (51-120 lbs) as well as larger sizes for adults
- There are lots of different patterns and designs to choose from
- This is a combination mask/scarf so it is a more discreet way to protect your face than a mask
- It purports to block not only air pollutants but also germs that cause illness
- Comes in kids styles/sizes (more like a neck gaitor) as well as longer scarves
- As I was doing research, it seemed that the effectiveness of an air mask is in large part due to the seal around the nose and mouth. This scarf is much looser around the face.
- No frills, actual mask used to protect against fine particulate matter
- Disposable, rather than the reusable (with replacement filters) masks like the ones above
- Less expensive per unit, but again, disposable
I think there’s definitely a trade-off between what a kid (or adult, for that matter) will actually wear vs. the effectiveness of the mask.
Of course, getting a mask at all is just putting a short-term Band-aid on the overall problem of our poor air quality. During days like these when the air is literally in our face and we can’t ignore it, consider learning more about groups like Utah Moms for Clean Air who are working towards a healthier environment for all of us.