mpton have been asked to consider shavingtheir beards off to ensure they are properly protected by masks, in the event of the coronavirus outbreak.
Staff working at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust have been sent an email with guidance and advice on facial hair, in a bid to address a “known problem” with fit testing masks for people with beards.
“You will see that the presence of facial hair compromises the ability to protect any individual through a mask”
People working on the frontline who are at risk of meeting early cases have to be fit tested so they can wear appropriate personal protection equipment.
However, the trust warned staff that facial hair “compromises the ability to protect any individual through a mask” and has so encouraged its frontline workers to consider shaving.
In an email to staff at the organisation, medical director Derek Sandeman said that, although “there has not been a case locally”, the trust was seeing suspected cases.
Mr Sandeman noted that is was “important that all those who can are able to see such patients”.
He attached an infographic (see above) to his email, which was produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to highlight what types of facial hair were suitable and could, therefore, fit under the appropriate masks.
“You will see that the presence of facial hair compromises the ability to protect any individual through a mask,” he said.
“I am writing to ask those who do not have a strong cultural or religious reason for a beard, and who are working in at risk areas to consider shaving.
“I recognise for some this is a big ask, that beards are so popular at present. However I do believe this is the right thing to do,” he said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US
The news comes as two further patients in England have tested positive for Covid-19 after contracting the virus while in Iran.
In addition, Wales and Northern Ireland have both had one case confirmed each, bringing the total number of UK cases to 19.
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