Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Face Mask

After much hesitation and changed of mind, in the end, mum and i stuck to our initial plan and still flew to Bangkok. Yes. Despite Bangkok having more than 2000 cases of h1n1 (then when we went compared to now 3000 plus cases and increasing) and increased fatality rate daily. Cz we figured that nowehere is really free from h1n1 right now. Even in Malaysia, cases are increasing daily so there's not to say, if we stay in Malaysia, we wont get it. Chances are, you can get it anywhere now. Just that knowing that an area is highly endemic and still heading there is perhaps a little like sending yourselves into the wolves den.

It was our 1st holiday together and i was really excited. Cz it's a just mum and i holiday. With no one else. :p. I never had a mum and i only holi and with so little time left for me to be in JB, this was a very good opportunity to accompany and spent time with my mum.

Dad was really worried about us so to reassured dad, me and mum promised we will make good use of Mr. Mask, alcohol-rub our hands and avoid contacts with our eyes, nose and mouth although this is kinda tough for me. I often subconsciously put my hand to my face to pull away strands of hair or for whatever reason.

I'm used to wearing surgical masks in OTs and in the hosp, but to wear a mask and walk around, whats more on a holiday and shopping and eating was really really 'potong steam'. It's like with a mask on, half of my face is already covered, so there's really not much point in making up. You applied blusher, lip gloss or lipsticks and only Mr. Mask will appreciate them. And once you start walking under the sun and your make up melts, Mr. Mask will be stained with your make up. So, it only makes sense to make up the eyes really cz when you take pictures, thats the only part of your face that carries your emotions, like whether you are smiling or frowning. Cz cant see the teeth and mouth anymore. So, if i can sulk while smiling with my eyes, you wont know either. *wink*

And Mr. Mask also 'potong banyak steam' when you wants to eat. Especially when you are walking along all those food stalls and you look at that stick of pork satay and want to try. You move on to the next stall and saw this mini doughstick and felt like putting one in your mouth. The next stall coconut ice cream just screams out to you. Imagine the hassle of having to pull down the mask and put it back on and pull it off again and then you start to wonder if Mr. Mask is still effective.

So, honestly, how effective is the mask in preventing h1n1? And there's so many types of mask rite? So, which to choose? All mask also look the same. None that look super chio or whatever right. Unless ppl got to the point of decorating their own mask. In Bangkok, i really see girls pinning Hello Kitty on their masks. Maybe mask can be a fashion statement someday. Then there's the N95 rite? You know, the white round one with 2 elastic bands to be strap around the head and fits snugly around your face? But truth is N95 is actually a respirator and not a face mask which what mostly ppl thought the same. For more clarity purposes, i had included this 2 definitions of face masks and respirator by the CDC.

"Facemasks:
Unless otherwise specified, the term ”facemasks” refers to disposable facemasks cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as medical devices. This includes facemasks labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation, or laser masks. Such facemasks have several designs. One type is affixed to the head with two ties, conforms to the face with the aid of a flexible adjustment for the nose bridge, and may be flat/pleated or duck-billed in shape. Another type of facemask is pre-molded, adheres to the head with a single elastic band, and has a flexible adjustment for the nose bridge. A third type is flat/pleated and affixes to the head with ear loops. Facemasks cleared by the FDA for use as medical devices have been determined to have specific levels of protection from penetration of blood and body fluids. Facemasks help stop droplets from being spread by the person wearing them. They also keep splashes or sprays from reaching the mouth and nose of the person wearing the facemask. They are not designed to protect against breathing in very small particle aerosols that may contain viruses. Facemasks should be used once and then thrown away in the trash.

Respirators: Unless otherwise specified, "respirator" refers to an N95 or higher filtering face piece respirator certified by the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A respirator is designed to protect the person wearing the respirator against breathing in very small particle aerosols that may contain viruses. A respirator that fits snugly on the face can filter out virus-containing small particle aerosols that can be generated by an infected person, but compared with a facemask it is harder to breathe through a respirator for long periods of time. Respirators are not recommended for children or people who have facial hair.
Where respirators are used in a non-occupational setting, fit testing, medical evaluation and training are recommended for optimal effectiveness."

I was beginning to wonder you know, if wearing a face mask is just to make one feel better and safer psychologically. You know cz everyone is wearing one whenever a respiratory disease outbreak occurs and you think that if you wear one too, you are better protected than those not wearing. I dont really like wearing that face mask all the time too but each time i hear someone sneeze or cough and i thought of not wanting to be quarantine, i pulled my face mask tighter to my face hoping that pulling it closer to me means more protection! Face masks certainly have their benefits as they can prevent droplets (which is one of the method of how h1n1 spread) from reaching the nose and mouth of the person wearing them bla bla (you can read it urself from the definition and newspaper article, so im not gna bore you with repetitions)

But in Bangkok itself, where h1n1 cases are drastically increasing, there's still a whole lot of the population that are not wearing mask. Tourist are abundant everywhere and none of the 'ang moh' tourist i saw wore mask. Most of their cab drivers do not wear mask when funny if you think, cab drivers are exposed to different types of ppl all the time, and they are at high risk. One thing for sure though is as i had noticed, wearing a face mask leads to discrimination or social distancing. Once you put on the face mask, ppl looked at you as though you are already a disease carrier and tried to stay as far away from you as possible. Really annoying one. And if you so happen to sneeze or cough even once, you'll be treated like a plague. The thing is, this is all part of the misconception ppl had about wearing mask. And that is probably why a lot of ppl are still refusing to wear a mask even those who are high risk when they are in public places and crowded areas. Personally i think wearing a mask is good even though it is very potong steam especially if you need to be in a super crowded place like Chatuchak and although it does not provide complete protection, but at the very least it will reduce your likelihood of transmission. And remember, you dont have to have a respiratory disease to be putting on a mask. You can be well and healthy and still put on a mask for prevention purposes.



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nice photos in your blog, hope u hav a great life! good luck! god bless u!

thanks for dropping by my blog. good luck to you too :)

So daring to take such a risk,salute salute!!!!!

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Sorry for my bad english. I would like to get updated with you new posts as I love to read your blog. Add me to your mailing list if you have any.

anonymous : sorry I don't hv mailing lists. But you can subscribe to this blog . Thanks