As coronavirus keeps spreading worldwide, a newly resurfaced Centers for Disease Control (CDC) infographic from 2017 popped up in different media headlines. The chart shows facial hair looks (including beards, mustaches, and sideburns) that could potentially interfere with face masks, which have become one of the most popular tools believed to prevent the spread of the virus.
The infographic was originally created for the CDC’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH), meaning it was aimed for those working in the healthcare industry who need to use the N95 respirator mask to protect themselves from a variety of reasons, not specifically for coronavirus per se until now.
It is important to point out that N95 respirators are different than surgical masks – the standard type known to the general public. A respirator is actually required to be fit-tested to be deemed fully effective for people in the medical field.
People who need to wear respiratory seals for work are the ones that are constantly exposed to COVID-19 or those interacting with people who may be potentially infected with this disease, in which case having certain facial hair styles can cause the mask not to seal properly or fit tightly against the face. However, the CDC does not recommend routine use outside of workplaces.
On the other hand: Panic buying of face masks (surgical masks) has increased as the coronavirus pandemic evolves. Masks are effective at capturing droplets (which are the main transmission route for coronavirus); however, using them can’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, as viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles.
With more than 200,000 cases confirmed globally, it is perfectly normal to be worried and trying to do everything we can to protect ourselves, but the World Health Organization actually recommends the use of face masks ONLY in specific situations:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection.
- Use a mask if you are sick, coughing, or sneezing.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly, as shown below:
According to international health authorities, the best ways to protect yourself against coronavirus are:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Staying home if you are sick.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes, ideally with a tissue.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Washing your hand often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
So, does this mean you have to shave all your facial hair? No, but you can change the style of your beard or mustache if needed, so they will not interfere with the mask’s sealing surface. Do you have any more concerns? Talk to one of our hair specialists in Tijuana today. Consultation is FREE, and it can be done online through Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts.
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