As I mentioned previously, I lived and worked in China for 3 months, I traveled widely throughout Shanghai and up to 2 hours out of Shanghai and also went to Beijing. China is known for its poor air quality. Prior to my trip I was under the false impression that the majority of Chinese wear masks. They don’t! Rather hardly anyone wears masks.
So, what was my experience of masks. In a nut shell they suck! If you wear glasses and you are wearing a mask you will find your glasses fog up while wearing a mask and you will find it hard to see to the point it is dangerous. In China they have stairs everywhere. even going to the toilet there is a step up (which I found ridiculous) so you really have to pay attention everywhere. So I asked for tips from my students. They laughed and said there wasn’t any. The masks ranged from paper ones to material ones.
What I learned, the Air quality index is useful. Moderate risk is 51 – 100, unhealthy air quality 101 ff, However, now this is the but, small particles can still penetrate masks, especially if they are not put on correctly. What are the best masks? LOL how big is a piece of string. As per my student’s advice I used the paper ones with blue on the inside. I tried wearing them in Shanghai when I arrived in China because I could feel my chest hurting and my body did need to adjust from Australia to China air. Maximum air quality in Melbourne is 30, Shanghai can get to 119, but is usually below 100, Beijing can get to 202 but is usually above 100s. I soon gave up because frankly no one was wearing masks (hence, obviously they knew they don’t really work and prolonged exposure to anything is simply not worth the effort), it was more a nuisance and I risked killing myself from not being able to see properly.
Wearing masks for other reasons. I noticed some of my students wore black masks and asked what were they for. Apparently they helped with Hay Fever. The material made it easier to breath. Very few wore these.
The facts, many people coughed a heck of a lot. A student of mine coughed up blood. I have no doubt being around air pollution, or viruses etc can be dangerous. So. as a non Doctor and person who has worked with health professionals and been around extreme pollution, my advice is simply wash your hands a heck of a lot, don’t go next to a person to the point that anything can be transmitted, do not stay in areas where there is hazardous smoke or pollution too long and if you cough dispose of the tissue in the bin. Do not use hankies where you can transfer germs. Also, listen to health announcements re what you should or shouldn’t do. They are the experts.