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Face masks and beards. Advice for men with beards

  • 3 min read

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ongoing pandemic that continues to spread across the globe. In this blog we discuss the virus, what it is, what it does and what bearded men need to know. And did the CDC really say to shave your beard?

The virus' actual name is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is called coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is a new virus that affects the respiratory system. It is transmitted through respiratory droplets and is particularly harmful to the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions. 

What are respiratory droplets? 

Respiratory droplets are expelled when you cough, sneeze or simply breathe. Essentially, they are tiny droplets of spit and other fluid from within your mouth, throat, and lungs. 

How do we become infected with the coronavirus?

Coronavirus is primarily spread person to person. Infection occurs when the respiratory droplets of an infected person come in contact with your mouth, nose or inhaled into your lungs.

Infection can also occur if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your nose, mouth and possibly eyes. 

Do I need to wear an N95 mask to protect myself from the coronavirus?  

The CDC does not recommend the average person wear a respirator (N95 or other medical mask) unless they are sick or are in contact with those who are infected. Please leave those for first responders and medical professionals.

What about cloth face masks/coverings?

On April 3 the CDC released new guidance stating we should all wear cloth face coverings while out in public. This new guidance is not to suggest that a cloth face mask will protect you from contracting the virus. Instead, it is intended to protect others from you should you be infected but not symptomatic. As such, the CDC still does not advise men to shave their beards unless required to properly wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Do I need to shave my beard to protect myself from COVID-19?

No. Unless you are required to wear a respirator, there is no need to shave. There is no medical evidence to indicate that men with beards have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Some doctors speculate that men with facial hair might have a lower risk of contracting the disease because beards may serve as a primitive filter that could possibly catch respiratory droplets before they enter your nose or mouth. 


How do I protect myself from COVID-19?

The best prevention for COVID-19 is proper hygiene, frequent hand washing, and social distancing (staying six feet away from other people). We need to wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our faces and beards. We should also wash our beards once a day if we are in an area with communal spread. 

To recap, CDC beard advice is not to shave your beard. Coronavirus prevention is best done by washing your hands and practicing social distancing while wearing a cloth face covering. COVID-19 beard care is pretty simple — wash your beard more frequently and try not to touch it throughout the day.


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Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be fun and informative. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have medical questions, always contact your health care provider.

Useful COVID-19 links

CDC - Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

CDC Coronavirus page

World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus page

WHO when and how to use masks

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