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CNA report: Higher risk of haze in southern ASEAN region between June and October 2023

As we approach the months of June to October 2023, the Singapore Weather and climate authorities warn that we are facing an alarming higher risk of smoke haze. This situation is primarily due to the El Nino effect, persistent drier weather, and increased hotspot activities in the area. In this blog post, we will delve into the causes of the haze, draw parallels with the devastating 2013 Southeast Asian haze crisis, and provide practical tips to prepare and protect yourself. So, grab your facemasks and let’s get started!

Understanding the Factors Behind the Haze: 

The El Nino phenomenon plays a significant role in exacerbating the haze situation in the southern ASEAN region. El Nino causes warmer sea surface temperatures, reducing rainfall and drier conditions. The smoke haze becomes a persistent threat to air quality and public health with increased hotspot activities such as land clearing and wildfire.

Recalling the 2013 Southeast Asian Haze Crisis: 

During that period, the haze reached hazardous levels, affecting millions of people and causing severe health issues in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The crisis was a wake-up call for governments, organizations, and individuals to take proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the haze.

Preparing Your Mask and Stocking Up on Filters: 

As the haze looms, preparing yourself with an adequate supply of facemasks is essential. Check your filter stock and ensure you have enough replacements throughout the haze season. Remember that not all masks are effective against fine particulate matter, so invest in high-quality masks. Properly fitting masks with a good seal can significantly reduce exposure to harmful pollutants.

We want to make protective measures more accessible to a broader audience. For a limited period until the end of June, you may use the discount code (hazeaway2023) to purchase Totobobo masks and filters from our store. (totobobomask.com)


The higher risk of haze in the southern ASEAN region in the coming months demands our attention and preparedness. As we have learned from past crises, taking proactive measures is crucial. Remember to prepare your facemasks, check your filter stock, and be vigilant about discounts that can help you acquire the necessary protective gear. We can safeguard our well-being and combat the haze effectively by staying informed and taking necessary precautions.


Sometimes our new users received a practical gift which is based on their answer to our questions.
Levi, a new users from Phillipines, told me that he learn about the Totobobo mask from his girl friend but she decided to try another brand first and let Levi try the Totobobo mask instead.

I intend to use it as both an everyday mask to protect myself from Covid, and as a mask to protect myself from pollution as I use my bicycle.

I learned about the Totobobo mask from my girlfriend Trixee, who is also an avid cyclist. She was researching on what mask to buy, and concluded that Cambridge and Totobobo were the best options. Since Cambridge was more accessible and cheaper, she decided to go for it first. Its disposable nature didn’t sit well with me, so I went with Totobobo instead. This also lets her see how I fare before she invests in one herself.

– Levi from Phillipines

Hearing about Levi’s story, I’m curious to find out how Trixee will compare the Totobobo mask with the Cambridge mask she got. I offered her a free mask and included in the parcel.

Two months later, I received an email from Levi and he included the feedback from Trixee. Her feedback blown my mind because she really understand the detail advantages and what sets the Totobobo mask apart from the rest. So much so that we decided that Levi and Trixee can try to help reselling the Totobobo mask to their local community! Their website is here: https://totoboboph.com/


Dear Francis:
First of all, thank you very much for sending a Totobobo mask over for me! I really appreciate it. Let me give you a spoiler now: receiving it was a game-changer, and I never looked back.

How I research for the best mask

Levi might have already shared with you how I found out about these masks, but let me quickly recount how I narrowed down my list to the Totobobo Mask and Cambridge Mask. Sometime late last year, Levi and I purchased ponchos from https://www.thepeoples.co/ . One of the items that Levi got was their cycling masks. https://www.thepeoples.co/products/everdaygear. At the time, I was thinking of getting one myself, but the mask looked huge on his face. Given that, I searched for online lists of the best cycling/bike commuting masks available. Then that I came across this list: https://www.cyclist.co.uk/buying-guides/best-bike-masks-to-protect-urban-cyclists-from-pollutionIt featured the five masks below:
1. Respro Ultralight
2. Cambridge Mask Company Anti-Pollution Mask
3. Craft Cadence Nano Fiber
4. Totobobo
5. Vogmask N99 CVI
I narrowed down the five masks to the Respro Ultralight, Cambridge Mask Co., and Totobobo since the other two options looked like regular masks without many additional features. To explain briefly, if I were to get either of the Vogmask or Craft Cadence mask, I might as well use my Meo Face Mask (https://www.meoair.com/), which is a reusable mask with replaceable KN95 filters. The prints/design were nicer, so “style” wasn’t an edge for these two masks. The list of three was further narrowed down to two, with the elimination of the Respro Ultralight from the running, due to its similarity with The People’s Cycling Mask – I was afraid the mask would be too large for my face. So, I ended up with Cambridge Mask Co and Totobobo to choose from. They were the top two choices because of their unique features: Totobobo’s mask’s filters can be replaced, the whole mask itself is plastic and can be washed, and it looked highly adjustable. The mask, however, looked intimidating, and I had to purchase it from the Singapore store. The filter and other add-on options also led me to “think too hard” about which items or set of items I want (Which filter should I get? Which set/bundle is better? Should I get a mask first or stock up on filters already?) Meanwhile, Cambridge Mask Co’s mask was a simple, familiar-looking mask. Despite the basic look, it offered a lot of features – adjustable loops to adjust the body of the mask itself, a nose clip, and the ability to be washed. There was a local distributor, so I was sure to get it quickly, and the price was just halfTotobobo’s price. The downside is that it had to be replaced every few months of use. While Singapore was near enough to the Philippines to have items shipped, I opted to try the Cambridge Mask first due to its availability from a reputable local medical supplies shop. It was also cheap enough that I wouldn’t mind not using the item if it didn’t work for me.I purchased one small and one medium size. Eventually, though, you learned about us and sent over a Totobobo mask for comparison.(At this point, let me apologize in advance for the number of Cambridge Mask Co. pics over your mask! I figured you already know what your mask looks like, so I just took pics of the other mask so you could see it.)

Comparison, Material, Comfort, Fit

A. Cambridge Mask Co

The Cambridge mask fits just like how other fabric masks fit on me. Both the S and M sizes covered my face well, the size was apt, and there was sufficient space for my nose and mouth not to feel too restricted. The elastics with toggles in the front of the mask helped improve the fit since pulling on tight made the edges of the mask tighter around the face. Like with all other fabric masks, though, it’s questionable if the edges of the mask were sealed. It looked sealed to me. But unlike with the Totobobo mask, given that the material of this mask was fabric, I would always question whether the mask was as sealed as it should be. I was raving about the mask’s elastics with toggles/tightening toggles, but I have to note that for the small mask, the elastics on both sides snapped within a week of purchase. Haha. Also, like other fabric masks, the elastic loops tend to be thick. I have small ears, so the tendency is for the ear loops to sometimes slip off my ears. I appreciated that the masks came with a nose clip integrated into the mask’s interior. I needed only to pinch it to shape.I also appreciate the attachable head strap that came with it. It was much more comfortable for me to use this instead of the earloops. The only downside was that the lock of the head strap was loose and tended to slip to a looser fit over time. As with other things that I purchase, I like that there are fewer moving and detachable parts in this mask. Though in this case, I’m not sure if the lack of moving parts is good (comparing it to the Totobobo mask). There was a light smell to this mask. And the mask, of course, got smellier due to sweat. It had to be washed after use! But then…The masks are supposedly washable and must be replaced every few months, but I honestly don’t feel comfortable washing it (with water and washing soda, according to online resources) – since the filter of the mask is integrated, I feel like the filter will degrade if I wash it. I purchased two sizes – one small and one medium. It seemed like the medium size was the proper size for me. However, the small mask seemed to fit better around my face, even if I adjusted the medium mask tightly. Like other fabric masks, I could grab the Cambridge mask and go. I don’t fear that it would be deformed or destroyed in my bag since it’s fabric and it doesn’t have detachable parts. Purchased from a local distributor, the Cambridge masks are priced at around USD 19.00-28.00 each (depending on the seller). Other reusable fabric masks are within the same price range, though probably more cost-efficient if they are the type that can be reused and filter replaced.For packaging, I almost would’ve appreciated that the mask came with a manual and other information. The information provided by the manual wasn’t very useful, though – they were stuff I could check online, and the warranty QR code, which asked me to input my email, was just a sign-up for their newsletter. Save for four pages; the other pages were just information in different languages. If you ever considered adding a nicer-looking packaging for the Totobobo mask… hmmm, maybe don’t do this. Maybe you don’t need it. All in all, the mask performed better than my other fabric masks. The Cambridge mask was able to improve the fit of this type of mask.

B. Totobobo Mask

Before getting into the review on comfort, it’s worth mentioning that the Totobobo Mask had to be adjusted many times before I could wear it. The process of adjusting the fit seemed easy enough on paper but was a little bit frustrating in practice. Once done, however, the ordeal was worth it, and the mask proved to be lightyears away in comfort! It was so much easier to breathe in this mask than in the Cambridge mask.One thing I appreciated is that sweat seemed to also help in sealing the mask. I had doubts about the seal when I first wore the mask to a ride. It seemed sealed, but the mask also seemed like it was just resting on top of my skin. After I got sweaty, however, the mask seemed to have lightly stuck to my skin. This isn’t uncomfortable at all. On the contrary, it increased my confidence that the mask was sealed and working. There’s really very little to point out in this mask because it worked so well. It was comfortable on my face, the cup provided ample space. The plastic material was not only more comfortable than the fabric mask, but it also felt cleaner. Breathing was easier (so much so that I got a little suspicious of the effectiveness of the mask, yet the dirty filters reaffirm the effectiveness). I’ve also already replaced filters. The straps can be a bit uncomfortable at first while putting on the mask, due to the lack of elasticity and thickness, but once worn, it was a non-issue. It might even be preferable (for some), since they don’t tend to fall off when looped around the ears. In any case, I opted to attach the strings such that they go around my head, which makes the mask more snug, secure, and comfortable, in my opinion. The Totobobo mask that I used didn’t come with a nose clip. I felt like that could have improved the fit or make the process of adjusting the curves of the mask to my face faster. Then again, it should be pointed out that I have been using the mask without the nose clip adjusted to my face and it remains sealed even without the nose clip. (One of the masks with noseclips that you sent us recently is mine, so I’ll be trying the mask with nose clips soon!)

More on durability: I’m also wondering how long the original elastics holding the filters would last. So far, after two months, they haven’t snapped or loosened much.Like the other mask, I also noticed that there was a light smell to the mask when I first started wearing it. It bothered me at first, but it went away after several uses. Unlike the Cambridge Mask, I loved washing the Totobobo Mask! I love that I could wash it with soap and water after use and that the head straps aren’t thick and absorbent, such that they have to be washed separately. I could also use alcohol if soap and water weren’t available or if I dropped my mask and had to clean it immediately. I appreciate that I can immediately clean the mask if I sneeze while wearing it. As a pet owner, too, the totobobo mask is preferable since dog fur doesn’t get stuck to it as much, unlike fabric masks, provided I keep the mask in a pouch/can when not in use. (Dog can wear the Cambridge mask because I don’t use it anymore, lol)

One thing about storage – I tend to throw my stuff in my bag whenever I go out. Given this, I sometimes felt anxious about just throwing the Totobobo mask in my bag in a hurry. It would get deformed if it weren’t kept in a hard case. I haven’t noticed any deformities that affect the fit when I wear the mask, but I haven’t put it under significant stress yet (like seeing if heavy items in a bag would deform the mask). In the end, I expected the mask to feel more comfortable than the Cambridge Mask Co.’s mask, which it was, but I didn’t expect it to be so much more comfortable! I ended up ditching the Cambridge Mask (two masks!) altogether after receiving the mask that you sent. In conclusion, the edge of the Cambridge Mask is that it is more accessible to me (given the lower price and its availability for purchase at the usual/popular online shopping platforms here in the Philippines) and the addition of an attachable, adjustable head strap. However, accessibility can’t make up for the comfort the Totobobo mask offers. I’d rather wait for the Totobobo mask to get shipped to me since it offered much more comfort, cost-effectiveness (reusability and filters!), and hygiene. I just hope that the small parts (elastics, string, filter holder/frames) will be available if they need replacing.

Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Regards, Trixee


Looking for a good mask that provides protection against Covid-19 and pollution? Levi from the Philippines recommends the Totobobo mask, which he uses while cycling. He discovered the Totobobo mask through his girlfriend Trixee, who researched the best masks and concluded that Totobobo and Cambridge were the best options. Although Cambridge was more accessible and cheaper, Levi chose Totobobo due to its washable and replaceable filters. After using the Totobobo mask for some time, Trixee compared it with the Cambridge mask and provided detailed feedback. If you want to learn more about their experience and purchase the Totobobo mask, you can visit their website at https://totoboboph.com/.


As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to impact the world, people are taking more precautions to protect themselves from the virus. One of the most effective ways to do so is by wearing a high-quality mask, and the Totobobo mask is one of the best on the market. However, we understand that shipping costs can be a burden, so we are excited to announce a new free shipping offer for our customers.

Recently, we had to adjust our shipping costs for DHL shipping due to the ongoing inflation and increased fuel cost. We understand that this may have been frustrating for some customers, and we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused. We want to thank our customers for your long-term support of our product.

To reduce the shipping burden, we have provided new free shipping for orders over USD 290. This means you can now purchase the Totobobo mask and have it shipped directly to your doorstep without additional shipping costs.

Please enter the discount code: FSHIP300 

when ordering at our online shop (totobobomask.com)

Everyone should have access to high-quality protective equipment, especially during these challenging times. By offering free shipping on orders over USD 290, we aim to make it easier for our customers to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.


What is AQI (Air Quality Index)

Air Quality Index (AQI) is a useful tool that measures the level of air pollutants and provides a simple way to understand air quality. The AQI is calculated based on air quality data from monitoring stations, it takes into account various airborne pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), ozone, sulfur dioxide and others. Government agencies use the AQI, individuals and organizations to make informed decisions about protecting their health and the environment. In this article, we will discuss the AQI in more detail, understand how it works, and learn how to use AQI information to protect our health and the environment.

What is the severe health impact of poor air quality?

Poor air quality can have various adverse health impacts, and the specific effects will depend on the type of pollutants present and the duration of exposure. Some of the typical health impacts of poor air quality include:

  • Respiratory problems: Exposure to air pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone, can irritate the lungs and airways, leading to respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Long-term exposure can also lead to chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Cardiovascular problems: Air pollutants can also affect the cardiovascular system, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Cancer: Certain air pollutants, such as asbestos and radon, cause cancer.
  • Neurological problems: Research suggests that exposure to certain air pollutants, such as lead, can lead to neurological problems, including learning and memory deficits, as well as behavioural and developmental issues in children.
  • Negative impact on children’s development: Exposure to poor air quality during pregnancy and early childhood can lead to decreased lung function, asthma, developmental delays, and other health issues.
  • Negative impact on older adults: Older adults are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution, and exposure to poor air quality can increase their risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems and cognitive decline.

Therefore it’s essential to reduce exposure to air pollution, such as staying indoors on days when the air quality is poor and wearing a good mask outdoors.

What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is calculated using data from air quality monitoring stations that measure the concentration of various pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and others. The AQI is then expressed on a scale from 0 to 500, with higher numbers indicating worse air quality and lower numbers indicating better air quality. The AQI uses a colour-coded system to classify air quality into different categories, such as “good,” “moderate,” “unhealthy,” and “hazardous.” For example, an AQI of 0-50 is considered “good” and would be colour-coded green, while an AQI of 301-500 is considered “hazardous” and would be colour-coded purple. This colour coding system makes it easy for people to understand the air quality and take necessary precautions to protect their health.

AQI colour code

The AQI is used to inform the public about air quality and by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set and enforce air quality standards. Individuals and organizations also use the AQI to make informed decisions about protecting their health and the environment. For example, checking the AQI before planning an outdoor activity can ensure you’re not exposing yourself to unhealthy air pollutants. Additionally, we can contribute to our planet’s well-being by understanding the AQI and taking steps to improve air quality.

How to use the AQI?

The AQI is based on the highest pollutant level among the ones it measures. This means that if an AQI is within the “good” range, it doesn’t necessarily mean the air is completely free of pollutants. Some people might be more sensitive to certain pollutants than others and should take precautions even when the AQI is in the “good” range. Overall, the AQI is a tool that helps us to understand the air quality and take necessary actions to protect our health and the environment.

You can also use various websites to find information on specific pollutants and view historical data. One website to check is the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) which provides AQI information expressly for the Southern California area. Another way to find AQI information is through mobile apps, such as AirVisual, which are available for iOS and Android devices. The app provides real-time AQI information, as well as historical data, alerts, and tips on how to protect your health.

Additionally, if the AQI is poor, you can adjust your indoor environment by using air purifiers or closing windows to reduce exposure to pollutants. In summary, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is an essential tool that measures the level of pollutants in the air and provides a simple way to understand air quality.

Who is EPA and how does it manage air pollution?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a United States government agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment. One of the primary responsibilities of the EPA is to regulate air pollution and ensure that the air we breathe is safe and healthy. The EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for certain pollutants that harm human health and the environment. These pollutants include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and carbon monoxide. The EPA also enforces regulations on industries and other sources of pollution to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The organization also conduct monitoring and research on air quality and provide information and resources to help individuals and organizations reduce air pollution and improve air quality. How to use AQI information To find AQI information for your area in Los Angeles, California, you can use various resources, including websites and mobile apps. One of the most popular and reliable sources for AQI information is the AirNow website, operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The website provides up-to-date AQI information for locations across the United States, including Los Angeles. outdoor exertion carbon monoxide.

Which are the cities with the worst air quality in the USA?

Several cities in the United States have historically had poor air quality. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some of the cities with the worst air quality include:

  • Los Angeles, California: Due to its geographic location and high population density, Los Angeles has long struggled with poor air pollution. The city is particularly affected by smog, a type of air pollution caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities, as well as natural sources such as wildfires.
  • Bakersfield, California: Bakersfield is another city in California that has struggled with air pollution. The city is in a valley, which can trap pollutants and contribute to poor air quality.
  • Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, California: This region in California has consistently ranked among the worst in air quality, mainly due to high levels of particulate matter and ozone.
  • Fresno-Madera, California: This region in California has also struggled with poor air quality, with high levels of particulate matter and ozone.
  • Houston, Texas: Houston has struggled with air pollution due to its heavy industrial activity, as well as emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh has a history of air pollution due to its past reliance on coal-fired power plants and heavy industry,

It is worth noting that the air quality in these cities can vary depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and other factors. Additionally, many cities and states have taken steps to improve air quality and reduce emissions, so the air quality in these cities may have improved over time.

How can I obtain the local AQI and air quality data in Los Angles, CA?

To find AQI information for Los Angeles, California, you can use various resources, including websites like AirNow, Aqicn and mobile apps like AirVisual. It is essential to understand the colour-coded system used to classify air quality into different categories, such as “good,” “moderate,” “unhealthy,” and “hazardous.” By using AQI information, individuals can take necessary precautions to protect their health, such as planning outdoor activities or adjusting their indoor environment based on the air quality in their area. Understanding and using AQI information to protect our health and the environment is crucial. Encourage readers to check AQI regularly and take action to improve air quality for themselves and for the community.

What else can individuals do to improve the national air quality standards?

One of the most effective ways to improve good air quality is to support policies and regulations that reduce emissions and improve good air quality. This can include supporting clean energy initiatives, promoting sustainable transportation, and supporting regulations limiting industrial facilities’ emissions.

Another way to improve air quality is by supporting organizations and initiatives that work to improve air quality. These organizations often research, educate the public, and advocate for policies and regulations that improve air quality.

Individuals can also make conscious choices in their daily lives to reduce their pollution emissions. This can include choosing products that have less of an impact on the environment, such as energy-efficient appliances, and supporting companies with environmentally-friendly practices such as minimum waste packaging.

Finally, educating ourselves and others about air quality and the impacts of pollution on our health and the environment. By raising awareness and encouraging others to take action to improve air quality, we can make a real difference in our communities and the world.

Who are the sensitive groups affected by poor air quality index?

Poor Air Quality Index (AQI) can affect everyone, but certain groups may be more vulnerable to the adverse health effects of air pollution. These groups include:

  • Children are significantly more susceptible to poor air quality because their lungs and immune systems are still developing. Exposure to poor air quality during pregnancy and early childhood can lead to decreased lung function, asthma, developmental delays, and other health issues.
  • Older adults: Air pollution poses higher risks to Older adults. Exposure to poor air quality can increase their risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems and cognitive decline.
  • People with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions: People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease are at a higher risk of experiencing negative health effects from air pollution.
  • Low-income communities and communities of colour: Low-income communities and communities of colour are often disproportionately affected by poor air quality, due to a lack of access to resources and information, as well as a higher likelihood of living in areas with high levels of pollution.
  • People who work or exercise outdoors: People who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as construction workers, farmers, and athletes, are at a higher risk of exposure to air pollution.

Air pollution levels can affect people differently, depending on various factors such as age, genetics, and pre-existing health conditions. It’s essential to be aware of the risks and take steps to reduce exposure to air pollution, such as staying indoors on days when the air quality is poor and taking steps to improve air quality in your community by supporting policies and regulations that aim to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

two women, tree pollen, blow, seasonal allergies, mask, outdoor, allergy symptoms
Are you suffering from seasonal allergy?

Are you one of the many people who suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, you know all too well the misery that high pollen counts can bring. With spring and summer fast approaching, it’s important to be aware of the pollen counts in your area and to know how to manage your symptoms. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at pollen counts today, provide tips for allergy sufferers, and discuss some common allergy symptoms. With the right information, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to allergens and keep your symptoms under control. Whether you’re new to dealing with allergies or a seasoned pro, this post is a must-read for anyone looking to stay on top of their seasonal allergy symptoms.

Who is most likely to suffer from pollen allergens?

Anyone can develop an allergy to pollen, but some individuals may be more susceptible to it than others. For example, people with a family history of allergies, children and young adults, those with jobs that involve frequent outdoor exposure, those living in certain areas with high concentrations of pollen-producing plants, people with other types of allergies, and men are more likely to develop pollen allergies. It’s important to note that anyone can develop an allergy to pollen, and consulting an allergist can help understand the risk and take preventive steps.

What is an allergy test?

An allergy test is a diagnostic procedure used to determine if an individual has an allergic reaction to a specific substance. The test can be performed on the skin or with a blood sample and is used to identify the presence of specific antibodies (such as IgE) produced by the body in response to an allergen. There are several types of allergy tests, including skin prick, intradermal, patch, and blood tests (such as RAST or ELISA). The test results can help identify the specific allergens causing the individual’s symptoms, which can then be used to guide treatment and management strategies.

What are the allergy Symptoms?

Some common symptoms of allergies include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy nose, throat, and eyes, watery eyes, coughing, fatigue, hives and eczema. Sneezing is a symptom of allergies as it is the body’s natural way of removing the allergen from the nose. Runny nose and nasal congestion are common symptoms caused by the production of clear and thin mucus from the nose, making it difficult to breathe through the nose. An itchy nose, throat, and eyes also indicate that the body is trying to remove the allergen. Watery eyes, fatigue and coughing are other symptoms that can result from allergies. Hives and eczema are skin conditions caused by allergies characterized by red, itchy, and scaly skin. These symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Which cities have the worst pollen allergy during the spring season?

  1. In the spring season, some cities known for high pollen counts and severe allergy seasons include:
    1. Boston’s spring allergy season is primarily caused by tree pollen, particularly from oak, maple, and birch trees.
    2. Houston’s spring allergy season is particularly bad due to high levels of cedar and oak pollen, as well as grass and weed pollens.
    3. New York City’s tree pollen, particularly from oak, birch and maple trees.
    4. Philadelphia’s tree pollen, particularly from oak, maple and birch trees, and grass pollens.
    5. Washington, D.C’s tree pollen, particularly from oak, maple and cherry, as well as grass and weed pollens.
    6. Denver’s spring allergy season is caused by tree pollen, particularly from cottonwood, ash, and elm, as well as grass pollens.
    7. Chicago’s spring allergy season is caused by tree pollen, particularly from maple, oak and birch, as well as grass and weed pollens.

What time of day has the highest pollen count?

The pollen count can vary greatly depending on the time of day, weather conditions, type of pollen, and location. In general, pollen levels tend to be highest during the early morning hours, and it is important to check with local weather forecast or National Allergy Bureau (NAB) for the most accurate and up-to-date pollen count data for your area and the type of pollen present. It’s also important to note that different regions have different dominant trees and plants, so the specific allergen types and pollen counts may vary from one location to another. It is recommended to consult with a local health department or allergist for specific information about pollen counts in your area and for guidance on managing symptoms.
Useful Tool: Pollen Radar on iPhone

What can I do when the pollen count is higher levels?

Indoor activities:

When pollen count is high, reduce your exposure by doing indoor activities such as cooking a new recipe, practicing yoga and meditation, or reading a book. This will help keep symptoms at bay, and it can be fun and engaging way to spend your time.

Out door mitigations:

Here are a few more mitigations to reduce your exposure to pollen and reduce your symptoms when you are outdoor:

  1. Schedule outdoor work for times when pollen counts are lower.
  2. Wearing a well fitting mask with high quality filter such as the Totobobo mask can help to filter out pollen and other allergens such as air pollution.
  3. Before heading outside, take an over-the-counter antihistamine or nasal steroid to help reduce symptoms.
  4. Take frequent breaks and go inside to rest and take a break from the pollen.
  5. Drink water, and keep yourself hydrated, as dryness in the nose, eyes, and throat can make your symptoms worse.
  6. Shower and change clothes to remove any pollen that may have been collected on your skin or hair.

Finally, even if you’re considered high-risk, it doesn’t mean you will definitely develop an allergy; it just means that you have a higher chance of it. If your symptoms are severe or you have other health conditions that worsen your allergies, it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional. They can help you create a plan to manage your symptoms and keep your allergies under control.



A recently published study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong1 shows that Totobobo mask largely retain the fitting property after repeated cleaning process. More specifically, after 15 times of ethanol cleaning cycles, 17 out of 22 (77%) participants retain satisfactory fit-test performance.

However, the results after 30 cleaning cycles drops to 53%. The study shows there are challenges and promises of the Totobobo mask as a reusable, eco-friendly solution within a hospital setting during a pandemic situation.

Supply issue in a pandemic:
At the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, limited stockpile of disposable respirators was a major issue. The broken supply chain made it extremely difficult to get regular supply. What can we learn in order to prepare for the future? It is difficult to predict when a pandemic may strike. Constantly stocking up for peak demand requires a lot of space. Large quantities of unused masks may be wasted if there is no pandemic before the expiry date of the masks.

Logistic issues of facemask during a pandemic: Sourcing, Storage and distribution
Facemask supply issues during a pandemic: 1, Sourcing 2, Storage, 3, Distribution

Promises of Totobobo mask:

Scientists estimated there are 129 billion face masks added to the plastic pollution each month. Thus, the reusability of Totobobo mask is desirable as a solution to reduce wastes. The effort of sourcing and the cost of distribution and storage of multiple models/sizes of N95 masks may be greatly reduced if most of the HCW reuse their personalized Totobobo mask.

Furthermore, the transparent Totobobo mask can be important in healthcare because it is easier for communication between the HCW and patients. A recent randomized controlled trial found that patients rated surgeons who wore clear instead of covered masks were better in providing understandable explanations, demonstrating empathy and eliciting trust2.

Comfort is another important factor that affects compliance and protection. A comfortable mask allows the user to wear it continuously for a long time. In the study, 90% of the participants reported the Totobobo mask is either more comfortable or the same as their regular N95 mask.

Comfort rating: Totobobo VS N95 masks

Challenges for Totobobo:

In order to reuse, the mask has to be disinfected. This is a new problem compared to a disposable mask. The research team from the Chinese University of Hong Kong came up with a simple and practical solution. They submerge the used mask and filters into a box of ethanol for 5 minutes and then remove the filters and let the mask dry before reuse. It is known that COVID-19 viruses can be inactivated within 1 minute of exposure to 70% ethanol3

To validate this method, fit tests were performed for each participant before and after 15 ethanol cleaning cycles. A third fit test was performed after a second set of 15 cycles ethanol cleaning processes. Based on the same requirement as N95 masks, a fit factor of ≥100 was considered an adequate fit. 

Followings are the results from the all the fit-tests:

The overall fit factors (median) of the first fit test was 139.5 and for the second fit test was 134 and for the third fit test was 122. All the median fit factors ≥100 yet, the value declined as the number of cleaning cycles increased.

Final thoughts:

Next pandemic, it is a question of “when” rather than “if” it will come. To better prepare for the future, there is good potential for reusable solutions such as the Totobobo mask to play a bigger role in protecting the public and may be also healthcare workers in the next pandemic.

Compared to stocking up multiple models and sizes of disposable masks, It is a lot easier and cheaper to stock up sufficient filters, providing customized protection while minimizing the burden on the environment. However, for Totobobo mask, there is room for improvements in the area of longer lasting fit-performance and ease of customization.

1. The effect of ethanol immersion on fit performance and comfort of a fit tested reusable mask
2. Effect of Clear vs Standard Covered Masks on Communication With Patients During Surgical Clinic Encounters (A Randomized Clinical Trial)
3. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents

Black knight, the coolest black mask

This is the “Black knight” version of Totobobo mask. Many users had asked for a black version of Totobobo mask but it was not easy because of the special customized material. Finally, after many rounds of trials and tests, the “Black Knight”, the coolest looking Totobobo mask is finally here!
To celebrate the success, we decided to provide a free bulk pack of F94 filter (40 pairs) with your pre-order of the black mask.
Please fill in the form in the link and we will contact you soon.

Pre order Black Knight Totobobo mask: https://forms.gle/8nbsAy38bDUts4Uk6


Best mask for traveling

Wearing Totobobo mask on plane

Cheerio sent her photo on plane recently and we are really happy to know that she is enjoying using our Totobobo mask. Below is a short interview with her. We thank Cheerio for her time and permission to publish this.

1) How did you get to know about the Totobobo Mask?

Funny enough, I read about Totobobo in Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools book. The book was way before the pandemic, and people were mostly concerned about the air pollution. 

2) What made you decide to try our mask?

Since the pandemic began, I’ve gone through a lot of disposable masks, and I’d like to change that. 

3) Is the initial use of the mask matching your expectations?

Yes! Totobobo was way better than the bulky woodworking masks, It seals so well that my glasses won’t fog. 

4) What do you like most about the mask? 

I can wear it all day on an airplane and in a convention center, and almost forget about it. It doesn’t weigh much and it doesn’t smell after long wear. Plus, people compliment it all the time. 

5) Is there any improvement you’d like to see?

I did not manage to shape the mask correctly. I would prefer to buy them pre-shaped for my family and friends! 

6) How is the delivery time and customer service?

Best customer service ever! 

Mask for air travel
Totobobo mask for air travel


I love my Totobobo! The variety of methods to use the straps (ear loops or around the head) is great, it fits well, doesn’t steam up my glasses, is light to wear and is easy to breathe in regardless of physical exertion, and has no exhalation valve, vital for a pandemic! It took a little bit of patience to get it to fit without leaks initially, but I have now become the master of this. It is the most comfortable and effective re-usable mask I have by far. 

left: dirty filters after one day of use in London. Right: The mask from Eleanor


I wear it predominantly when in London, particularly on public transport, the London Underground, London Buses, etc., particularly where you can’t distance yourself from other people. I knew it was filthy on the London underground, I just never appreciated how filthy until I began using the totobobo mask and saw the filters at the end of the day. The chances of me continuing to wear it on the underground post-pandemic are high! 

Issues and solutions

I recently ordered some filters and rubber rings (filter retainer) because I have lost a couple of rubber rings. It’d be useful to have some spares and I needed some more filters anyway. The very fact Totobobo has a storage bag is a huge bonus as keeping a mask clean when out and about would be an issue with other brands. Unfortunately, though, I am often carrying heavy work equipment around sites and meetings in London and so the soft bag doesn’t protect the mask from getting seriously squashed in my rucksack. Despite the abuse, the mask is holding up great, a bit scratched maybe, but otherwise fine.

In response to my minor inconvenience, Totobobo kindly offered extra straps and rubber rings, as well as, a larger cotton pouch that is also easier to wash. I will see if I can get my mask into my pocket now rather than my rucksack. The staff assisting me also sent over a surprise gift – a small-sized mask for me to try. Sadly, the mask was too small for me, but it already has a new home with one of the ladies I was having lunch with recently. She is delighted with it. None of the ladies had considered the concept of pollution in London, or for that matter, protecting yourself from others and others from you in the pandemic. Cloth masks, as are mostly worn here in the pandemic, protect others from the wearer, but I believe, not really the other way around. None had considered that you could do both. As a result, they were all fascinated by the Totobobo mask.

Conclusion, epilogue

All in all a brilliantly designed mask that I plan to keep using. Service has exceeded expectations, and I look forward to doing business with Totobobo again when I need more filters and bits.


Look, leopard pattern, what a cool fashion statement!
This is the latest customisation by Debbie, one of our new users. What is her first impression of the Totobobo mask?

Love it, took it for a test drive yesterday for a 3-hour bike ride and added a leopard mesh underneath. Probably the most breathable mask I own. Even my elder son told me: “”It’s more comfortable and I can breathe better with the new Totobobo masks than the cloth masks.” 

After some uses, one thing I unexpectedly appreciated: The front entrance always has a hook bursting full of cloth masks that inevitably fall on the floor. Now, she’s minimized the clutter in the front entrance – each person has one mask. Most importantly, this is a great sustainable option, reducing waste from disposable masks and reducing water usage (washing a household’s worth of dirty masks). Even though the filters are disposable, it leaves a smaller environmental footprint while still providing maximum safety. 

Debbie https://www.instagram.com/p/CV9YUmhPXa5/

Debbie saw Totobobo mask from her friend’s Facebook post. Her family currently wears reusable cloth masks, but the effective ones are hard to breathe in, and the comfortable ones are probably minimally protective. The worst is that cloth masks take time to clean and dry and become less effective over repeated washes. She has two boys who are too young to be vaccinated, and it is vital to have a trustworthy mask to protect them truly and are comfortable to wear and easy to clean, especially if they ever travel again.
Debbie also does indoor rock climb where she needs to wear a mask at all times. She finds it difficult to breathe in the cloth masks and incidentally, she came across another post about a rock climber using the Totobobo mask and finds it comfortable enough to breathe in.
We are glad that after trying the totobobo mask, Debbie enjoys using it, making it more fashionable than ours!