40 thousand masks being given out to protect North Bay residents from smoke

- Forty thousand masks to filter out dangerous particles in smoke from wildfires are being delivered or have already been delivered to fire evacuation shelters and to four North Bay counties, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said today.

The masks are known as N95 masks and have or will be delivered to evacuation centers and Napa, Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties.

"Particulate matter is particularly dangerous because it can bypass our body's natural filtration system and enter deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream," air district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius said.

Air district officials are advising people who remain in the fire areas to use an N95 mask to minimize breathing that particulate matter.

The particulate matter can have immediate health impacts, especially for people with respiratory conditions, children, and seniors.

But while the masks can help, the best course of action is to go into a building that has filtered air, Roselius said.

The other option is to leave the area. Air quality alerts have been given throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since the wildfires started Sunday and burned tens of thousands of acres and left people homeless.

"We have never recorded higher levels of air pollution in the Bay Area," Roselius said.

The air district was established in 1955


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