Sit down, little beard!
many excited bearded boys calling for Dr. Awesome because they are unsure how to save their beard from the Corona crisis. Because you can read everywhere these days that beard and respirator mask don't really go together. And now many of you and your friends are afraid that they will have to shave their mat to even protect themselves properly. The Doc gave some thought to this and discussed it with an infection control expert. But remember, little frightened beard: The Doc is only showing you his own view of things. This is not an instruction or a recommendation. You have to steer yourself through the crisis. But of course you can let the Doc inspire you.
Basically, a respirator is a fine thing. If you use them correctly. Let's start with the mask itself. Some people just pull a scarf over their mouth and nose, others sew them themselves. Anyone who supposedly wants to protect themselves better can use a surgical mask or one of the professional models, the FFP masks.
Of course, all masks differ in their effect and permeability. What is certain, however, is that none of them offer absolutely 100% protection. You have to keep that in mind. To be more precise: All masks, except for the FFP3 masks, are not made to protect against viruses. And only very few are likely to have such a model at all.
In addition, even this professional mask only offers real protection if you put it on correctly and make sure that there are no cracks or air gaps. Pretty hard!
So let's summarize the situation out there: Most people use masks, which can only partially protect them from infection anyway.
Against this background, the warning that respirator masks do not work properly for people with a beard because the beard does not provide a 100% seal appears factually correct, but in practice this problem can easily be counteracted by using the best possible mask. You see, little worry beard, what the doc is getting at? Right! For example, if you wear an FFP2 or FFP3 mask as a beard wearer, you risk breathing in some unfiltered air through your beard. But your risk is probably no different from the mass of respiratory mask wearers out there. Or to put it more simply: What you lose in terms of tightness through your beard, the wearers of surgical masks don't have anyway - even without a beard!