If you live in a major city such as London or New York, then the chances are you’ve seen Japanese and other Asian people wearing surgical masks.
Many do not understand this practice and according to an article by local newspaper On the spot, British people are confused and may are frightened by the practice. Many were said to be in fear of terrorism when Japanese people donning the masks entered an ASDA store with bystanders saying:
“I have never seen anything like this before. I immediately thought that this was some sort of terrorist operation in place and could see other people were getting really anxious. My family were genuinely frightened.”
“I asked a member of ASDA staff what was happening and was told that it was probably some type of ‘cultural thing’, which did not answer my question or allay our fears. The masked people were pulling big cases on trolleys, which could have contained anything.”
Indeed, if you are unaware of the practice, seeing dozens of people in white surgical masks in your local store at 9 am in the morning is bound to scare you. In England we associate white surgical masks with doctors and hazmat teams, so you can see the confusion.
Why do Japanese people use these masks?
The practice of wearing mask began as a result of the high value placed on productivity in Japan, as a result unless one was so ill it was physically impossible to get to work. People started going into work with mild colds. However, out of courtesy and to avoid contaminating the air in the work space or the crowded trains in Japan. People started wearing these masks.
Although, just because you see someone in mask does not mean they are ill. Many now wear the mask out of habit when flu season comes. Also the mask has seen a rise amongst the youth as a fashion accessory. So many have forgone the white masks for more stylish designs.
Where does hayfever come into the equation?
Up until 2003, face mask provided no medical use apart from acting as a barrier to prevent the spreading of germs and disease. This was until Japanese company Unicharm released a new type of mask specifically designed for hayfever sufferers. Originally masks had been made out of cotton, however Unicharm’s game changing mask was made out of non-woven materials which made it perfect at blocking pollen. Even better the masks were disposable could be cheaply bought in bulk.
So if you suffering from hay fever and wanna scare your co-workers, pick up one of these masks here. Amazon prime members, you can have yours by tomorrow!
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