Many opt for cheaper three-ply face mask

IPOH: Despite the haze blanketing the nation, many in Ipoh are still opting for the three-ply face mask instead of the more suitable N95 type.

Visits to some pharmacies here showed a general preference for the three-ply mask due to its price.

A pharmacist, who wished to be known only as Koh, said some customers were not interested to get the N95.

“Although there were those who bought the N95, more people requested for the three-ply mask instead.

“Since the haze is really bad this time, we have stocked up on both types of mask.

“But the three-ply masks remain our best-seller, ” she added.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently said the N95 mask was the most effective in protecting against smoke and haze as it filtered the air inhaled but in the absence of N95 masks, the three-ply ones would do, even though they were less effective.

Since Sept 18, five types of face mask including N95 and the three-ply ones have been listed as price-controlled items.

Another pharmacist, known as Lim, said her outlet had no plans to restock the N95 face masks.

“It has been nearly a week since N95 face masks were sold out in our store. We aren’t sure when we will sell them again.

“Many of our customers wanted to get the three-ply or single-ply masks. We still have those in stock, ” she said.

For 25-year-old administrator Mohammad Haikal Haruddin, he doesn’t mind paying more for N95 masks.

“I’ve heard from doctors that during hazy condition, a N95 face mask is more suitable than a three-ply mask since it filters out dust particles in the air we breathe in.

“I see people are still using the cheaper three-ply mask, which is designed for hospitals. I hope they will research more or seek medical advice to truly understand the effectiveness of each type of mask, ” he added.

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