If you have a beard your mask could be losing effectiveness: here's why you should shave it off
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Wearing a mask is the first barrier of protection against the coronavirus. It prevents you from spreading the virus if you are infected, and if they have a high filtering capacity they can also protect you from contracting the virus.
Everyone knows that you have to be careful with masks so that they do not lose their effectiveness. For example, surgical masks and FFP2 masks should not be worn for more than 4 hours at a time, and any mask should be replaced immediately if it becomes damaged, wet or too damp.
In addition, for the mask to work properly, it must be properly fitted to the face, so that there are no gaps through which droplets can escape.
In fact, if the fit does not completely cover the face and leaves small gaps, the mask can lose much of its effectiveness, as the aerosols find more spaces to escape. This problem is not only faced by poor quality masks: also by men with beards and mustaches.
“Trying to eat an apple is like eating a felt-tip pen or a sticker”: this is how people who have lost their taste for COVID face the challenge of eating every day.
This happens because the abundance of facial hair prevents the hermetic seal of the mask, which is absolutely necessary for it to work and avoid possible contagions of coronavirus.
“Facial hair makes it impossible to seal the mask tightly on the face. Shaving will help prevent the leakage of contaminated air around the edges of the mask and into the lungs,” warns an analysis published by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
This is not the only source claiming that wearing a beard or mustache can be a bad idea when it comes to wearing a mask. A professor of Public Health at the University of Maryland (USA) has also recommended it in a message on his Twitter account:
“To get a tight seal I had to shave for the first time in 45 years,” explains this expert on his social networks.
An article published in Nature also emphasizes the importance of shaving or at least significantly reducing facial hair so that the masks fit better: “Tests of the fit of masks with facial hair were unsuccessful. masks FFP2 and FFP3 with facial hair were unsuccessful.
And not only those with a beard or mustache can have problems with the mask: you should also pay attention if you have long hair.
Gemma del Caño, a pharmacist and educator, recommends that your hair should not touch your face or the mask. It’s a good idea to tie it back and put a hairpin in it.
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