In Western countries, wearing surgical face masks was once difficult for locals to accept, but since the global outbreak of COVID19, it has now become the necessary protective equipment for everyone before going out of the house, which has led to a serious shortage of masks in various countries. In this article, we will discuss the views of East and West cultures on wearing masks, and the things that need to be noted when reusing masks. The public should also be reminded that only if you wear masks properly and wash hands diligently, can you effectively avoid being infected by the virus.
Masks began with the Spanish flu
First of all, wearing a mask is to prevent the virus from spreading to other people through oral liquid particles, and to protect ourselves from other germs, so, why not wear a mask? According to a study by the Department of Sociology and Social Policy of the University of Kent, masks are made back to the Spanish influenza (Spanish flu), but it was not until the 1990s that masks began to be accepted by the general public, especially in Japan, which became an important medical protection device to protect themselves.
In fact, the habit of wearing masks in Japanese society also went through a process of responding to the Western ideological movement promoted by local governments and encouraging scientific solutions. As a result, the demand for surgical masks have been given greater attention.In addition, the etiquette culture of Japanese people plays a very important role, and medical professionals join the government in self-vaccination, urge people to manage their health autonomously, and take the initiative if they have symptoms of a cold. Wearing masks to reduce virus infection is the most practical manifestation of caring for others.
In China, wearing masks is also a common phenomenon, especially when the majority of people are traveling on bicycles, which may be due to air pollution. However, in the West, even in medical care, the acceptance of wearing surgical mask is still low, especially in the United States, because it runs counter to its Liberalism ideology, after all, the face is the most direct way to show itself. As for East Asian countries, including Taiwan, wearing masks is already the most basic vaccination equipment for Chinese people outside the country. For young people, it can add some mystery to their appearance and even take pictures while wearing it to highlight the charm of their eyes.
You must always wear a mask in these 3 situations
While masks can provide some degree of protection, they are not universal. Regarding the timing of use, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that wearing a mask is only necessary when respiratory symptoms is presence such as coughing, and sneezing. Of course, many people don’t agree with the WHO.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, local cases of infection in Taiwan are no longer limited to family clustering, but please do not panic. The Central Epidemic Command Center pointed out that the outbreak at this stage can be divided into “sporadic community infection” and “sustained or widespread community transmission” scenarios, suggesting that enterprises can evaluate according to the outbreak situation and risk assessment.
When traveling on public transport, such as buses, trains and high-speed rail, remember to wear masks and reduce the frequency of touching the facilities inside the vehicle. It is recommended to walk or ride a bicycle if your destination is close by.
In addition, the command center also called, the timing of use of masks is still focused on 3 situations:
- When visiting, accompany, and visiting persons with respiratory symptoms
- Patients with chronic diseases when going out
Wearing a mask remember to these 4 steps
The most important thing when wearing a mask is to ensure that it is close to the face, in order to effectively prevent the virus invasion. Wash your hands before wearing it, and avoid touching the mask, specially the outter layer. When it’s necessary to remove it (such as when eating or drinking) it is recommended to remove it from the ear strap. DO NOT touch the front part of the mask. If you accidentally touch the front, wash your hands or disinfect it immediately. In this regard, the Ministry of Health and Welfare provided the following four steps to properly wear masks to remind the public to remain vigilant during the extraordinary period of the epidemic’s burns.
How to correctly wear surgical masks and How to determine the front and back of a surgical mask
- Open the mask pack and check for any cracks or defects, generally designed to have a coloured outer layer which has to be faced outward, and the bendable metal nose bridge should be on top of the outermost layer.
- Hang the ear straps (elastic bands) on both ears, the bend the metal fixture to perfectly fit shape of your nose bridge. Then, pull the mask all the way down passed the chin. If necessary, tie to adjust the length of the elastic band to ensure that the mask is not loose.
- Evenly press the nose bridge sheet on both index fingers, so that the mask and the nose bridge are tightly combined.
Usable period of surgical masks depends on the storage and do not touch the outer layer
In response to the short supply of mask production, perhaps at this stage we can’t change a mask every day. What we can do is extend the life of the mask as much as possible to make it last effectively for a few days, but this depends on how person handles it.
An epidemiologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore, pointed out that keeping the surgical mask dry can extend the life of a mask without having to put it in a plastic bag.
Finally, when discarding masks, you must not throw them anywhere, because there may be a lot of secretions on the masks. The correct way is to wrap the used masks in toilet paper. Then throw it into the trash.