More people buying air masks as smoke creeps over Southcentral

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - As smoke from the Swan Lake fire continues to creep over Southcentral, residents are looking to protect their throats and lungs from the haze.

"N95 is a standard rating on air masks for dust and particles, and it'll help filter out the smoke particles and make it a little easier for some people who are sensitive to it to breathe," says George Sides, with Andy's Ace Hardware.

Another good mask, Sides says, would work well for this type of smoke is one with a carbon filter that's rated R95, which provides the same filtration as N95, but helps reduce the smell of the smoke.

Masks with higher ratings are such as R100 or N100 filter out even more particles, but are typically more expensive. Health professionals warn that household scarves and bandannas not rated N95, do not help.

"If you're indoors, you can take an air purifier and that will help filter out a lot of the smoke that's in your house," said Hides, "and I think we're going to be needing it for a little while here because we've got a fire getting fairly bad here."

To check on the most recent air quality conditions, call the air quality hotline at (907) 343-4899 or check the website.

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