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Old 01-29-2020, 11:59 AM
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Default Facial Hair in the Age of Superviruses



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I just retired and have been growing a beard for the past few months. It's getting to the point where it looks reasonably good now. To my chagrin, I've read several places that all the N95 masks I have won't form a proper shield over facial hair. I'd prefer to keep my masks sealed so I have not performed an experiment to see if this is true. On the other hand, I've read that there's some scientific evidence that mustaches may act to trap dust particles and other nasties before they enter the nose.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:35 PM
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Sexism?

….10 characters
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Prepper_Ed View Post
I just retired and have been growing a beard for the past few months. It's getting to the point where it looks reasonably good now. To my chagrin, I've read several places that all the N95 masks I have won't form a proper shield over facial hair. I'd prefer to keep my masks sealed so I have not performed an experiment to see if this is true. On the other hand, I've read that there's some scientific evidence that mustaches may act to trap dust particles and other nasties before they enter the nose.



Thoughts?
It is true. Ask any firefighter. That is why they aren't allowed to have facial hair.

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Old 01-29-2020, 01:39 PM
Potawami II Potawami II is offline
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Worked in a carbide machine shop. Yes you need to shave your beard to get a decent seal. I'll wait till things get worse before I shave mine.
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:45 PM
gungatim gungatim is offline
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when I went in for surgery they said I had to be clean shaven before hand, otherwise they said they had to use medical grade silicone sealant on the mask to glue it to my face to ensure a seal around the facial hair, which would be rather painful to remove...but it is an option.

I think there is evidence that the facial hairs and oils on them do trap dust, along with other germs and various sundries. of course the bonus is free snacks when SHTF if you are careful picking the good stuff out.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:07 PM
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when I went in for surgery they said I had to be clean shaven before hand, otherwise they said they had to use medical grade silicone sealant on the mask to glue it to my face to ensure a seal around the facial hair, which would be rather painful to remove...but it is an option.
Must be a new technique I worked in an OR for 25 years and never heard of gluing a mask to anyone's face for any reason. They do often ask patients to shave to get a better seal, but it's not required, we saved people who looked like Sasquatch every day.
In a pandemic situation, if you do not have access to clean water in which to bathe yourself everyday you probably want to shave when you do. Or if you believe months on end might be spent in a mask and you can remove the mask long enough to shave, it's probably a good idea.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:10 PM
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I would like to disprove a theory.
I make my own colloidal silver, and seeing it effective in killing germs and adding in healing infections, spraying it only my beard and in the mask or bandana I use might help in the prevention of the disease getting past these barriers.
A mask alone is going to house the disease not kill it.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:16 PM
PurpleKitty PurpleKitty is offline
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My husband had a full beard during his back operation with no problem, but they may have intubated him.

He has very bad psoriasis and it is aggravated by shaving so he will have to take his chances.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:00 PM
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I could get a seal when I had a few days growth, but after my waiver ran out I bought a quality electric shaver and have been fine.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:45 PM
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No beards with our full face respirators, had to have absolute seal working with Anhydrous Ammonia.... See icon....

one days growth and you could smell the NH3, 2 days and you would fail a fit test seal.

we did particulate counts when fit testing and no one gets zero PPM so even these have leakage you would need a level A PPE with positive pressure

NH3 is nasty stuff we would shrink dollar bills by dipping them in it... sucks all the moisture out of them.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:28 PM
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No beards with our full face respirators, had to have absolute seal working with Anhydrous Ammonia.... See icon....

one days growth and you could smell the NH3, 2 days and you would fail a fit test seal.

we did particulate counts when fit testing and no one gets zero PPM so even these have leakage you would need a level A PPE with positive pressure

NH3 is nasty stuff we would shrink dollar bills by dipping them in it... sucks all the moisture out of them.
Sheesh. You would think positive pressure would be mandatory.

Anyway, I'm a FF, I have a beared. I just keep it shaved or at least short in the area where the mask fits. We would lose most of the department if we banned beards.

But thats is with positive pressure where you don't ever leak IN, you leak OUT.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:37 PM
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Well my beard came off last night.

Opens up the option of using all my filtering options instead of relying on just the PAPR.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:45 PM
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I have a thick straight beard. In Hazmat training I was the last person to run out of positive pressure air. You need to protect your eyes too. Tear ducts lead right into your system.
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Old 01-29-2020, 08:12 PM
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It is true. Ask any firefighter. That is why they aren't allowed to have facial hair.

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Our instructor said it doesn't matter if we have facial hair, due to the fact that SCBA is positive ventilation, and a full seal isn't required. Many of us have beards, none of us have died of smoke inhalation or had any respiratory issues.

Of course, this doesn't hold true for simple masks or respirators
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:02 PM
Exarmyguy Exarmyguy is offline
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I had a beard when I toured Europe after I got out of the army. That was back in 1980. Clean shaven for work since then other than the odd growth on holidays.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:41 PM
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Typical N95 masks do not really seal well. They can come close. But not really that well, even the better high end ones. For one thing, the little straps only go so tight and if you cranked down on them you'd likely deform the mask or just become very uncomfortable. And by the way, unless you get the better ones with the little cool off valve or something, you're going to be very uncomfortable as they get hot if it's even just a bit warm. That being said, they certainly help with large particles. And even if something small gets by, it's less of a load, and that could be the difference between a healthy person never noticing their antibodies fought something off vs. getting sick. Here's another tip if you wear eyeglasses; if you don't get the masks with the flow valve, even with a good seal when you exhale if any air escapes up you're going to fog your glasses all the time. So get the more expensive ones with the valve. (Besides ambulance work, I use masks of various types when woodworking all the time. If it doesn't fit right or is otherwise uncomfortable, it's going to let stuff in.)

And here's another thing... they don't work at all if after you've used one in an environment in which there was bad stuff, but then take your bare hands to remove it from the front and crunch it up in your pocket to use it later! (And then, thinking you're fine, bite your nails or pick something out of your teeth or nose or whatever. Congrats... you just closed the loop on a transmission vector.) There's a key unknown here and that's how long this crap lives on surfaces in open air. Some stuff dies really quickly. Other stuff persists for weeks or longer. This is why wash stations in hospitals are hands free or foot operated or if actually old school, you'll see clinicians just out of habit using a couple folds worth of paper towel to turn off the faucet. (The same as you should probably do if you can't avoid the bathroom at any fast food place or wherever you are out.)

As for facial hair, yeah, I understand some guys maybe manage to get away with it somehow n the fire service, but I'm not sure of the cost/benefit. At my place, (which is just volunteer), if you show up not clean shaven, you take a lot of crap and you certainly can't don any gear and go on a fire job or any training where there's going to be a live burn. Masks are fit tested for you in the first place. The paid staff potentially has a discipline problem if they're not clean shaven. A few guys have small mustaches, and that's it. I've said this elsewhere, the larger risk today isn't about heat; it's about toxins. There's actually a couple layers of seal around the mouth/nose itself and the rest of the face. I don't understand at all how any significant facial hair allows for a good seal. But so what. Most normal people don't need to think about this anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, if you're out in public and bad stuff is around, there's really little to no way to make it zero contact unless you're in some kind of full suit. Someone sneezes, and even with a mask, unless you're going to burn your clothes and wash down any exposed skin before removing your mask, you're going to get SOMEthing. So it's all about mitigation. And masks certainly can't hurt. If this stuff seems to get worse and I've got to be out and about, I'd use one. Remember though, if things got that bad, pretty much anything you picked up outside, a box of cereal, whatever... you'd also really need to wipe down. People don't just sneeze right at you. They put their filthy little mitts on all kinds of things from gas pumps to elevator buttons and so on. We mostly don't think about this stuff because we don't have to. And actually, picking up little bugs and germs this way is probably part of what helps immunity. (The same as how all the little rugrats in day care trade their nasty snotty germs around is actually a good thing. Sort of.) But if things get ugly picking up the wrong bug... well... we're watching it all unfold. Ever been on a cruise ship? Notice how crazy they are about wiping down everything? They don't want norovirus to trash their whole industry again.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prepper_Ed View Post
I just retired and have been growing a beard for the past few months. It's getting to the point where it looks reasonably good now. To my chagrin, I've read several places that all the N95 masks I have won't form a proper shield over facial hair. I'd prefer to keep my masks sealed so I have not performed an experiment to see if this is true. On the other hand, I've read that there's some scientific evidence that mustaches may act to trap dust particles and other nasties before they enter the nose.

Thoughts?
I generally have a short beard in the cold months as it really helps keep your face warm , but come spring time it's off as it'll trap pollen which really sets me off.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:57 AM
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Must be a new technique I worked in an OR for 25 years and never heard of gluing a mask to anyone's face for any reason. They do often ask patients to shave to get a better seal, but it's not required, we saved people who looked like Sasquatch every day.
In a pandemic situation, if you do not have access to clean water in which to bathe yourself everyday you probably want to shave when you do. Or if you believe months on end might be spent in a mask and you can remove the mask long enough to shave, it's probably a good idea.
it was a joke...
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:24 AM
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One of the things a non full face mask does, other than filter the air, is to keep your dirty hands from touching your mouth and nose. I usually have a beard and use a full face respirator when sanding wood due to the ultra fine sawdust. Sawdust booger’s are rough coming out.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:20 PM
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it was a joke...
Unless I see a sign (J/k, haha, LOL, ) I take most of what I read here at face value, especially in the case of medical matters, because I've just seen too many posts from people who were serious and full of ****.
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