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    • #12417


      When living with a life-threatening lung disease such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), it is important that patients take the proper precautions to protect their lungs. Unfortunately, many times patients are unaware of the many toxic, environmental and/or germ exposure(s) that can put our health at risk.

      Perhaps I am a bit too cautious, however, when there is even a slight risk of exposure for me, I choose to wear a mask. I will wear a surgical/hospital mask when it is the only option available, but given my preference, I opt for a specialized mask that is formulated to protect my lungs from particles, dust mites, pollen, air pollution, germs, smoke, etc. It uses an N99 filtration as well! My preferred mask of choice is called a Vogmask and more information about them can be found here:

      Not only do I feel as protected as possible using my Vogmask, it also allows me to breathe well underneath it, which I know can be problematic for some other masking options.

      What about you: do you have a preferred mask that you use to protect your lungs from possible exposures?

    • #12551
      Kathleen Sheffer

      The most effective mask is the hepa filter respirator mask that filters 100% of particles. It’s also fairly breathable, with more space between your mouth and the mask than the Vogmasks. I feel much safer with this head strap than with the ear straps on the Vogmask. The drawback is that it’s very hard for people to hear you through the silicone. Therefore, I tend to wear a Vogmask in any standard situation where I feel at risk for infection, but the P100 respirator when there are serious environmental hazards (like wildfires here in California) or when my immune system is exceptionally compromised.

      • #12565

        Hi Kathleen,

        Thanks so much for your contribution to this thread, and sharing the information about the hepa filter mask. I actually haven’t even heard of that one, but am going to look into it, as I certainly like the idea of filtering 100% of particles to protect our lungs. Do you purchase them online typically Kathleen? Typically where I live in Canada, we don’t have too many environmental hazards such as smoke from wildfires, but definitely good information to know in the event we did. Thanks again!


    • #12562
      Patricia Jusak

      I didn’t even know things like this were available is it pertinent to have them & am I at risk if I don’t? Thank you in advance for any help, Patricia jusak

      • #12566

        Hi Patricia,

        Welcome to the PF forums, and thanks for contributing to this thread… great questions!

        I suppose whether or not a patient needs a specialized mask is up to their level of comfort with using standard, hospital-based masks. It is something I would recommend to help protect your lungs from viruses and bacteria, as these can cause infections which can lead to a rapid decline in patients with lung conditions if not treated quickly enough. As a result, I personally worry that the hospital-based masks aren’t enough protection for me, but others may not feel this way. I always use my Vogmask in the hospital, in large crowds of people (such as an outdoor concert where I also may run into secondhand smokers) or on airplanes. It just makes me feel a lot safer, and gives me the peace of mind knowing that I am doing everything I can to protect my lungs. Coughing is really painful/uncomfortable for me, so if using a mask protects this (by avoiding a cold) then that makes me happy 🙂

        Hope this helps a bit. Please feel free to be in touch any time!
        Warm regards,

    • #22553

      Hi Charlene,

      Before I ask my face mask related question, I want to thank you for your column. I’m 26 and new in the IPF world and I have read pretty much everything you posted. It has really helped me a lot!

      And now, for my question, is it still possible to have your nasal cannula in while using the Vogmask or does the mask cut the oxygen flow? I started getting worried about air pollution and those nasty particles as I am reading that the air in my hometown is really bad lately, so I was thinking that the Vogmask could be helpful. I don’t plan on visiting back home while the air is this bad, but I am worried that it might affect my lungs even when it gets a bit better.

      Thank you!

    • #22555

      Hi Anja,

      Thank you so much for writing, and I am glad you’re part of our forums community. That said, sorry you’re also dealing with this cruel disease as a young adult! We need to stick together to start debunking the myth that IPF affects only those who are older; it is clearly not true. I’m so glad my columns are helping you, if there is ever anything you want to connect about, please don’t hesitate to write me directly: [email protected]


      As for your Vogmask question, it is a good one. I don’t struggle with having my nasal cannula under the Vogmask, I do this often, especially while flying. You just loosen the straps a bit around your ears so the cannula and straps aren’t too painful/bulky. The Vogmask I’ve learnt is really good but isn’t the best, best one on the market (a N95 respirator mask is) however, I haven’t invested in one and swear by my Vogmask. It is a good option to have, especially if you’re concerned about air quality. Good on you for being proactive about this 🙂


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