The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that face masks have become a part of our every day lives as we all do our part to shield one another from infection. They have long since been a tool to protect ourselves from more than just infectious diseases, particularly against pollution.
Outdoor air pollution is one of the world’s largest health and environmental problems and according to the Global Burden of Disease study 3.4 million people died prematurely in 2017 as a result of outdoor air pollution. To put this into context: this was more than three times the number who died from HIV/AIDS and over eight times the number of people killed in homicides worldwide.
In fact, when compared to COVID-19, pollution killed over 600,000 more people in 2017 then COVID-19 did between April 2020-2021. Although since 2017 countries around the world
have signed up to the clean air initiative to try and improve the cause of the problem, WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Wear a face mask! By wearing a face mask in polluted areas you can protect yourself from inhaling the dangerous pollutants in the air. When do you know when the area you are in is polluted? Thais where the Spyras Smart Facemask and companion mobile application comes in!
We have been working on adding pollution tracking to our application allowing users to be much more informed on the quality of the air they are currently breathing in. Our new pollution feature will not only inform you of the current pollution in your area but also warns you when you are in areas which exceed the WHO guideline limits on pollutants and suggest for you to put on your Spyras Smart Facemask.
Spyras takes pollution tracking to the next level by using local pollution data alongside information derived using your mask and our algorithms about your breathing to physically quantify the amount of each of the most prevalent and dangerous pollutants you have stopped yourself from inhaling by wearing your Spyras Smart Face Mask.
Once the application has calculated the amount of each pollutant you have stopped yourself from inhaling it will provide you with interesting insights into the benefits of your actions to your health. We have got plans in the pipeline to reward you for such actions!
Although wearing a mask in polluted areas is a great proactive step to protecting your respiratory health. Although to properly protect you from pollution, your mask should be in good condition as when saturated, your masks ability to filter out the harmful particulates in the air is greatly reduced.
The trouble is for many of us tracking mask usage can be tedious and complicated resulting in many people giving up and just wearing the same mask all the time, or throwing away/washing their mask much earlier then advised. The Spyras Smart Facemask and companion application helps with this too by automatically tracking your mask usage when wearing the mask and displaying its current efficiency and hours of use left according to
you will be provided with reminders of when to change your mask to help ensure you are protected and using your masks efficiently and effectively.
Perhaps in the next post, we should take a deep dive in understanding more on pollutants their sizes and how facemasks can help filter from the air you breathe.
I look forward to sharing these new developments with you very soon!
Omar from the Spyras Team.