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Cold mask

Covering Up Your Cold With a Mask

Sandy Braz

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Every culture has its traditions. From cuisine to art to music to religion to health, the way we handle certain things in our lives can largely be based on our traditions and on the culture within which we are raised.

When it comes to health, for instance, using “anti-bacterial” gels and soaps is common practice in North America, while in countries like Japan and Korea, wearing a mask to help stop the spread of illness is quite common practice.

But you’d be surprised why.

There is often misconception that masks are worn to help prevent contracting illness, when in fact, wearing a mask is considered a courtesy in some countries—like sneezing into your elbow when you’re sick—since they have been shown to help stop the spread of germs to those around you.

In general, masks are quite common in Japan and Korea and are a large part of culture, performance, music, art and celebration, as well as hygiene.

Big in Japan

In Japan, Noh, which is performed with special masks, is an example of how masks play an important role in Japanese culture, where wearing a mask is associated with positive things. In Korea, each region has a dedicated mask to represent its community, and it often appears in town or village celebrations.

So, with all the rave reviews on masks, should North America start wearing them?

It’s really a personal preference, but knowing what the options are is good place to start.

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