The coronavirus pandemic has led many people to believe that sporting a beard can be dangerous during this time. However, this is only a misconception, and it was simply a result of panic and misinformation. Beards are perfectly safe, and we will go over why in the sections below.
That said, it is important to remember that the threat of the virus is indeed real. We must take it seriously, regardless of whether you have a beard or not. In these times, your biggest priorities should still be your health and safety.
With that said, how did such stories about beards and the virus come up in the first place? Let us find out together.
The source of the myth
The myth can be traced back to a specific graphic released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that said that growing a beard should be avoided in the interest of general health. However, this graphic was not anything related to the ongoing pandemic. It was initially posted in 2017, two years before COVID-19 ever came about.
With that in mind, the graphic was not for the general population. Instead, it was used by paramedics as a response to the trend known as "No Shave November." If you are unaware of what the term means, it is a collective effort of people around the world to not shave during November.
The graphic was meant for paramedics to guide them on how to utilize an airtight respirator. It showcased how a beard may hamper the effectiveness of a respirator. This is because facial hair can get in the way of the seal, and it was recommended in the graphic that paramedics and others who needed to use respirators should shave.
How the misinformation spread
As you may have guessed, social media is responsible for the popularity of this myth. People, while being warned to take everything they see on the internet with a grain of salt, immediately believed what others claimed since they backed it up with graphics.
Fortunately, this myth was quickly dismissed. The rumour was soon declared to be inaccurate, that its message about beards and the virus omitted the fact that the graphic was posted two years before the pandemic ever happened. It was also stressed that in no way are bearded individuals forced to shave their beards, even if they live in an area where the virus is rampant.
It is a massive relief for many of us beard growers to know that the myth has been a lie all along, that we can keep our beard without increasing our risk of catching the virus. That said, this is no excuse to be ignorant about the whole pandemic. There are still practices you need to employ to keep yourself and everyone else around you safe from the dangerous virus.
Remember, one way you can catch the virus is to touch an infected surface and then touch your face. As a bearded person, touching your face is probably a habit you are unaware of. If you want to be safe than sorry, make sure you wash your hands regularly and avoid going close to other people.
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