Mask use urged against Athens smoke

Mask use urged against Athens smoke

Scientists are recommending the use of masks as a means of protection in all outdoor areas by people living in, near or who pass through fire-affected areas. In particular, special attention should be paid to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions, pregnant women, the elderly and young children as the high concentrations of harmful particles in the atmosphere are combining with the heat to a toxic effect.

Indicatively, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias stated Wednesday that the EKAV ambulance service received 77 calls between 4 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. from people with breathing difficulties. 

The Health Ministry and the National Observatory of Athens said people should stay indoors and recommended the use of masks N95, KN95 or FFP2 (high protection), now known due to Covid-19. These masks provide protection from harmful fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller (PM2.5), which at least until Wednesday afternoon were recorded at high levels in several areas of Attica and the center of Athens.

Prominent professor of pulmonology Panagiotis Behrakis advised people suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, pregnant women, the elderly and young children to stay at home, with closed windows and doors, and if they need to go outside to inhale through the nose, and wear a good mask to protect against microparticles.

He said children, due to their lower height, inhale the particles in greater concentrations, insisting they should not run and play outside. 

The Medical Association of Athens said that people, especially those with chronic conditions, should contact their doctor immediately if they experience shortness of breath and a persistent cough. People with heart disease should call 166 and go to hospital emergency department if symptoms include respiratory distress, chest pain, or general symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.


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