Unmasking the Social Stigma

By Tobias Sjöstedt

The pandemic and the way to fight it will go down in history as one of the biggest battles the human had to face. And the ways and behaviors to fight the virus are many but some of them are proven to be helpful to stay protected. Most countries apply social distancing, lockdowns, and face masks to protect themselves from air-borne microbes. But some countries don’t force their citizens to cover their faces with a mask – why’s that? In this article, we’ll shed some light on the reason why.

Your friendly mask

But first – let’s talk masks and the options that are out there. There are four types of masks- N95, N99, FFP2, FFP3 - and they all differ from each other. The marking will be a bit different and so will the ability to filtrate the air around you, but they’ll always give you the best protection possible.

- The N95 mask

America uses the “N” marking when it comes to masks. The N95 mask reduces the person's exposure to dust, pollution, and viruses by 95 % and is often used by health care workers. They’re also comfortable to wear with its flexibility which gives the possible seal so you can wear them all day without feeling tired or exhausted.

- The N99 mask

The N99 mask works similarly to the N95, but it’s even more effective – it gives you 5 % more protection than the N95 mask. And even though is better, some people feel that it’s harder to breathe while wearing the N99 mask which makes the N95 mask their number one choice.

- The FFP mask number 1 and 2

While America uses the “N” marking, Europe uses the “FFP” marking. These masks create a solid facial seal, filtrates a minimum of 80 % of the air, and are available as both valved or non-valved. The ones with the valve protect in two ways: it’s filtering both the in – and outflow of air.

But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For the best protection, the WHO recommends masks that use at least two layers and that are made out of fabrics like cotton – both disposable masks and washable masks. And to make it even easier – Maskz of Sweden offers all of these four categories of masks so you can pick the one that fits you the best.

Mask friendly or not

The face mask has made its debut on the big stage after the coronavirus broke loose and many countries across the planet have made it mandatory to wear a mask as soon as when you’re traveling by public transport or entering shops. If a person doesn’t abide by these rules, they can expect a heavy fine. And even if it doesn’t make you immune from catching the virus, it breaks the chain of infected people spreading it when sneezing for example.

And while many countries have realized the need for face masks, Scandinavia has stood out in this question except for Denmark where you have to use them in places like churches, supermarkets, and hospitals. In Norway, it’s only mandatory when using public transport while in Sweden it’s not mandatory at all. While wearing a face mask, it’s more likely that you’ll touch your face and The Swedish Public Health Agency, claim that it’s better to maintain social distancing and stay at home when possible. The use of face masks can provide “a false sense of security”, according to Stefan Löfven, the Prime Minister of Sweden.

Where is the social stigma?

And it’s in those countries where there’s been a social stigma, and a for or against the use of face masks. There are many reasons: people see an “infected” person instead of a responsible person or make the question more political by claiming that the mask invades their privacy, which the government has no right to do.

But there has been a change in the face mask-wearing lately even in the countries where it’s not mandatory. You see people wearing them almost everywhere where’s there are people: in public transport, shops, and restaurants. It’s a small and very easy step to take without compromising the freedom of going to our favorite restaurant with our loved ones, support our local businesses by shopping in their stores and visiting our friends, and having a good time.

But for this to work, we have to work together. We live in extremely difficult times and the need to turn this around will take a lot of work and effort – this includes everyone. And whoever said that it’s not possible to combine the good effects of the mask with style? No-one! Many shops offer, especially in the holiday season, a large variety of masks that goes with your style and even for special occasions. And by wearing it in public, it’ll make people turn their heads and think “wow, that’s a cool mask. Where did you buy it?”

How MaskZ of Sweden creates a difference?

We at Maskz of Sweden only cares about one thing: you. You shouldn’t have to deal with complicated decisions this year nor shouldn’t you have to search the internet to find the right PPEs for you. We offer many cool-looking masks that’ll make people turn their heads without compromising on the quality or your safety. This year, we also offer the perfect Christmas gift: the Mask Gift Box. The box contains 2 masks, 2 sanitizers, and 1 mask case in a cool-looking MaskZ box. Sharing is caring after all.

So mask or no mask – we’re in this together and we should look after each other. But remember that wearing a mask is just one step towards a pandemic free world. You should always keep a distance between yourself and the person next to you. Wash your hands as often regularly with soap and hot water, and use a sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol or an alcohol-free sanitizer that is kind to your hands and easy to carry around. By doing this, we’ll come out stronger, smarter, and happier because we did it together without any form of social stigma.