Fact Check: How is your facial hair connected to COVID-19?

Bearded young man looking in mirror in the morning

Quick Take

A Facebook post claims that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health institute in the United States recommends people shave their facial hair to prevent Coronavirus. The post also had an image with CDC logo. We did a Fact Check and found out that the claim is False.

The Claim

The Facebook post claimed that CDC has asked people to shave off their facial hair to prevent from Coronavirus. The post had an image as below.

An archived version on the post can be seen here.

Fact Check

Who is CDC?

CDC, the acronym used for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the public health institute in the United States. CDC works towards protecting health & promoting quality of life through prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability. Their official website is www.cdc.gov.

Is the image fake or manipulated?

No. It is not manipulated, But it is used out of context. The image was posted on the website of Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) in a November 2017 in blog post regarding wearing of respirators by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The archived version of the blog post is here.

The blog post was about workers who wear respirators at work. It was an awareness blog that asked people who regularly have to wear respirators at work to not grow beard since respirator seal may not set properly on face due to facial hair.

CDC has also added a warning on the top of the blog post: This blog and infographic from 2017 are intended for workers who wear respirators at work. For the most up-to-date information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please visit CDC’s COVID-19 website.

Also, the blog post was published in 2017 long before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

But, can it be relevant still for common people?

Yes, facial hair can cause respirators not to fit properly. But, common people are NOT required to use respirators.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), tweeted in February 2020 regarding the same. The tweet read: @CDCgov does not currently recommend the general public use respirators for #COVID19. This 2017 graphic is meant for workers who wear them for airborne hazard protection, as facial hair can cause the tight seal to leak.

Do common people need to wear respirators at any time, say, during hospitalisation?

If in any case if a person needs to be hospitalised and given respirators, the medical staff may do the needful to shave the person. This is not related to COVID-19 situation alone but in any case of hospitalisation.

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