Should I wear a mask?

  • Respirator masks can be effective in reducing exposure to smoke particles, however they should only be used after first implementing other, more effective methods of exposure reduction, including staying indoors with doors and windows closed, reducing activity, and using HEPA air cleaners indoors to reduce overall smoke exposure.
  • For adults, NIOSH N95 or P100 masks, when worn correctly, have been shown to filter particles and improve the quality of the air being inhaled.
  • Masks can be ordered online or purchased at hardware stores.
  • People with respiratory or heart conditions should consult with their healthcare provider prior to wearing a respirator mask.
  • Effective masks are labeled NIOSH N95 or P100 and must fit properly or they are ineffective.
  • Surgical masks, dust masks, and bandanas or other face coverings do not offer protection from particle pollution.
  • Children should not wear these masks – they do not fit properly and can impede breathing. If the air quality is poor enough that a child requires a mask, the child should remain indoors, in a safe place, and evacuation should be considered.
  • For information on using masks for wildfire smoke see: