Busting Myths and Adjusting to a ‘New Normal’ in Masks

“Ugly”, “claustrophobic”, “unnecessary”, and “paranoid” were all words used to describe face masks and their wearers just a few months ago.

Admittedly, and now slightly embarrassingly, I too feared the potential tightness of a mask around my face restricting my breathing and results of possible anxiety. In reality I was able to breath perfectly normally.

When asked by the BBC, Professor Keith Neal, and infectious disease expert says, "Thin paper or cloth masks will not lead to hypoxia*. Surgeons operate for hours wearing them. They don't get these problems".

In light of Prof Neal’s statement one might think “well yeah obviously” but there have been so many rumours and misinformed ‘news’ circling my social media feeds about masks limiting oxygen and causing hypoxia (*Oxygen deficiency) that when you see it over and over again you might start to believe it.

Misinformation (and conspiracy theories) popping up on our morning scroll on Instagram can make us conflicted and it’s hard sometimes to know what is true or right.

When you see memes about mask wearers being paranoid and germaphobes, and see false information on masks being ineffective against covid-19, for many that’s enough to make up their mind on masks and decide they are against them. 

In all honesty, because of all this misconception I was embarrassed at the thought of being seen in a mask doing the weekly food shop, it’s what made me a non-mask wearer up until just before masks had to be worn in shops by UK law.

In reality I knew that wearing a mask in shops would be safer for me and others but I was too embarrassed to be the only one. I thought people would look at me and judge me for it so I decided to put my health second to my ego.             

This pandemic and masks have made me realise it’s all about doing you, looking after you, and taking things at your own pace. It’s about finding strategies that make you feel more comfortable.

For me that was buying a fashionable mask. Instead of a mask being this big scary medical item, it felt like a new accessory and I was excited to wear it.



Author Bio: Hi, I’m Abi Purvis. I’m a freelance writer, as well as a hiker, climber and an environmentally minded individual. I also have my own lifestyle blog and Instagram: @abislifeinwriting . Since graduating I am Duolingo obsessed and have an 107 day streak learning French.

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