The Economic Times
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| 13 July, 2020, 11:35 AM IST | E-Paper
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Is your beard putting you at risk of coronavirus?

Synopsis

The more hair across your mouth, the tougher it will be for the mask to sit well.

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Styles such as stubble, a full beard, and mutton chops are not recommended because they would likely interfere with a respirator. (Representative image)
Your facial fuzz could be doing more than just giving you a trendy edge. According to health experts, different styles of beards and moustaches can make you more or less susceptible to catching a virus. A soul patch may look bad, but it’s better for protecting yourself compared to a hipster beard.

An infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how different styles can prevent face masks and respirators from sealing against the face. While the chart was initially released in 2017, it has resurfaced after a top CDC official warned on Tuesday that it's no longer 'a question of if...but when' the coronavirus will spread in the US.

The virus has affected over 80,000 people across 40 countries.

The Good
A clean face that’s free of fuzz may be your best bet. Being clean shaven or having side whiskers, soul patches and handlebar mustaches will allow the respirator mask to fit properly on your face.

The Bad
The more hair across your mouth, the tougher it will be for the mask to sit well. Styles such as stubble, a full beard, and mutton chops are not recommended because they would likely interfere with a respirator.

Style score
The CDC recommends 12 styles as appropriate for a face mask: clean shaven, soul patch, side whiskers, pencil, toothbrush, lampshade, Zorro, Zappa, walrus, painter's brush, Chevron and handlebar, However, a little stubble, a standard beard and dozens of other styles could reduce the effectiveness of the respirator's exhalation valve if the two come into contact. The infographic says goatees, horseshoe and villain mustaches can work as long as hair doesn't cross the mask's seal.

The CDC says facial hair can't act as a filter because it is not dense enough, meaning individual hairs are too large to capture tiny particles. In fact, the agency says research has found facial hair under the sealing surface of a mask causes anywhere from 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to those with clean-shaven faces.

Masks and respirators have been among the most widely used protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

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4 Comments on this Story

Shikshah87 days ago
Let’s try to be realistic rather than believe on what we are being told by religious priests. It is clear that having beard can hold bacterias and hence make you at risk. I am sure if you are taking a precaution for your safety, you will not be fried by god in hot oil.
Azam Mahmood135 days ago
To all Muslims Beard is Sunnah or tradition of their Holy Prophet (PBUH), not a style. Every Apostel n Prophet of God starting from Prophet Adam (AS) had beared. We Muslims firmly believe on our Lord Allah (SWT) as our creator n sustainer. We Muslims dont care if beared shall increse risk of Corona Virus or not. God willing no Muslim shall shave beared for fear of Corona virus.
KHAN AZIZ135 days ago
MOUSTACHE,NOT BEARD,CAN BE A PLACE FOR BACTERIA AND VIRUSES, THIS CAN GET TRANSFER TO RESPIRATORY SYSTEM , HENCE IN ISLAM KEEPING MOUSTACHE IS PROHIBITED, NOT BEARD.