Our family arrived back from Vietnam around 40 hours ago after spending 48 days in the country. When we left on our trip the outbreak hadn’t started yet and when we left Vietnam the whole world was aware of the new situation spiraling in Asia and over the world.
The biggest part of our trip was spend in Ho Chi Minh City, a city with a population equal to everyone living in Sweden. Leaving Vietnam there were two known cases of Corona-virus in Ho Chi Minh City, both were Chinese citizens from Wuhan, China.
Face masks in Vietnam
In Vietnam many people wear masks. There are many reasons for it but mainly people want to avoid pollution while getting around in the heavy traffic. You can also wear a mask if you want to avoid getting sick, but even more if you’re feeling a bit sick but want to protect others from your germs in a way to be considerate of others. Some people wear masks to avoid the sun, some wear them all the time and some wear them sometimes.
While visiting Vietnam, we used masks on the kids when we were driving around on motorbike, we wore it too, but often forgot too. When our kids got sick, having a cold, the wore masks to protect the others in the family and when we were visiting places outside of the house.
When the virus spread and the media reported cases in Vietnam we felt that people got more careful about visiting crowds and public places like shopping malls. There was still a lot of people around, but many wore face masks and sometimes the wore masks in several layers.
Face masks while travelling
We decided that the whole family should wear masks on our travel back to Stockholm, Sweden. At the airport Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam almost everyone wore masks. When we landed in Doha, Qatar we saw a few people wearing masks and at Arlanda, Sweden we were the only ones wearing masks and many people were curious about it.
Our thought on wearing a mask
In Vietnam it was normal to wear a mask on the airport, nothing strange about that. They also have a culture of being considerate to eachother and protecting others when being sick. So people having a cold, sneezing and coughing naturally wears a masks. That felt really good since it meant the we would less likely get sick.
In Sweden the information from the authorities is that the face masks don’t keep you safe from the virus and that they can even be more harmful than going without a mask. The recommend to wash your hands often and sneeze/cough in the bend of the arm.
We don’t really agree, but keep in mind we are just normal people, not doctors or scientists. But here is what we think: A face masks might not stop a virus, but the filter will keep you from breathing in someones spit if the sneeze or cough at you. But the masks also keep you kids from putting their fingers in their mouth. We feel that the best advice is to stay away from sick people and keep washing your hands and face. That is not very easy with two childen, but then the masks is at least a bit helpful.
Swedish authorites said that it might even be a increased risk if you wear a mask because the mask might catch some virus on the surface and when you handle the mask you will get infected. But then they said that the masks doesn’t work in the first place? Isn’t that very strange, if there is virus on the surface on the masks, doesn’t that mean that it works?
If you touch the surface of the mask, then was your hands thoroughly. As in all flu seasons and periods when many people are sick….
Keep washing your hands!
Right now many people is sick and coughing and even though it’s not the Corona-virus, it still feels better to cover my face, and my kids faces behind a mask. Because if you sneeze in the bend of your arm, it will be at the height of my kids, or even me since I’m a shortie, and I don’t want to get sick if I can choose.
The state of our healthcare and readiness
While we were gone we’ve read about the collapse of our swedish healthcare and it feels like a terrible convergence to a mutating virus desease spreading over the world. I hope Sweden is ready if the shit hits the fan, but I honestly doubt it. Deseases don’t get stopped by borders and the worlds citizens travel more than ever. Another interesting thing is the new Netflix documentary Pandemic that covers mutating viruses spreading all over the world. When they filmed the documentary the interviewed people just speculated about the next mutated flu virus, and they were quite accurate. See it!
I regret that we didn’t buy more good quality masks in Vietnam, because the ones in Sweden is not even worth buying, even though it’s probably better than nothing. We will use the masks that we bought in Vietnam if we go visit crowded places.