MASK – From Accessory to Necessity

Mask is a common thing in the healthcare industry. As a healthcare professional myself, I got used to wearing disposable masks when I was working as a hospital Pharmacist. However, here in the Philippines, the general public does not usually wear a mask on a regular basis.

As far as I can remember, it was only in recent years that it was made popular by Korean celebrities. Yes, most Filipinos are hooked on “K-Dramas” as they call it. (Not a fan, but I love CLOY though and about to finish watching it in Netflix – for the 2nd time😊). It is said that aside from using a mask for protection, Korean celebrities probably use it as a way to hide their identities.

Well aside from Koreans, I’ve also seen other celebrities who wear mask, including a Norwegian DJ whose pictures and music videos usually show him wearing a black mask with the AW logo (learned it from my kids). And because celebrities wear them, eventually it has become a fashion statement – an accessory. Even my kids jumped into the bandwagon and started nagging me to buy them some masks. Good thing they have it in department stores and bazaars (usually the ones made of cloth with character designs). So here they are in their cute masks on.

This photo was taken in November 2019 and little did we know that they will soon be maximizing the use of these masks. In January this year, the Taal volcano in Batangas erupted. The ashfall was massive and reached nearby provinces and being a resident of Cavite, we are badly affected. At that point, authorities urged those affected by the ashfall to wear an N95 mask. An N95 mask is built to block at least 95 percent of very small airborne particles and is designed to fit the face compared to a regular mask. People lined up to buy N95 masks while others opted for disposable face masks or cloth masks due to the scarcity of supply. The eruption has subsided the following days but ashfalls are still present, so everyone is advised to wear masks.

Then the Coronavirus disease emerged. The 2019 (COVID-19), initially named as the novel coronavirus (2019-NCoV), started in Wuhan, China in the latter part of 2019. The spread of the virus became uncontrollable and has become a global crisis.  

With all these things happening around, wearing a mask has suddenly become a necessity. Masks are worn by people everywhere (and later on, there’s nowhere to buy it from – mask shortage is real!).  To address this shortage, health authorities even issued some guidelines on wearing masks.

However, despite the recommendation by health authorities to only wear mask in certain situations as mentioned above, the demand for mask continuously rises. For most people, wearing a mask is not an option anymore but a necessity. As the avilability has become very limited, people continue to look for alternatives. DIY cloth masks are everywhere, and even international designers do their homemade masks – that’s fashion and protection combined. Well, it won’t hurt to put some color and design on our masks, right? Here are some of the cloth masks that I purchased recently.😊

Health authorities explain that using a cloth mask is a last resort option and not considered as personal protective equipment since their capability to protect against the disease is yet to be proven. But for the majority, it is better to do everything possible to protect themselves than do nothing at all. Wearing a mask, together with proper sanitation, including handwashing/disinfection will help us fight coronavirus. We are advised to avoid the crowd, thus the government implemented a lockdown, or as they call it, “enhanced community quarantine”. So for now. . .


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