The cleanliness of health care providers’ facial hair might seem like a mundane question to pore over. But, in medicine, the mundane aspects of hygiene can have profound effects on patient care.
Researchers estimate His incur up to $147 billion in direct and indirect annual costs. To curb these trends, hospitals emphasize the use of hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, sinks, gowns, and an array of infectious disease protocols.
Some hospitals have even installed motion sensors and video cameras to promote handwashing among their staff. These regulations, which led some hospitals to change surgical attire, have stirred outrage among surgeons.
The American College of Surgeons released competing guidelines last year, directly challenging the nursing group's proposals. Healthcare-associated infections remain a pressing issue, but the jury is still out on whether beards truly pose a risk to patients and colleagues in clinical care.
A number of studies have found men who have beards appear more mature, confident, and dependent. For instance, most individuals associate an older man’s beard with religious leaders, such as Jesus or Moses.
For this reason, beards have begun to beg the question: is this personal choice being put ahead of patient safety? It examined over 400 medical staff members and found that bacterial transmission was similar in both male participants with beards and those without.
Yet, the sample population tested was rather small and did not include broader hospital settings, so an accurate conclusion cannot as yet be determined. What’s more, there is even data that hints one’s beard does not play a role in bacterial shedding, but rather personal hygiene, or what is growing on your face.
Several doctors have stated the most important thing to do is to keep facial hair neatly trimmed and clean. They also stated that if the facial hair was ever an issue with any patient, they would take it into consideration, as their appearance is considered a reflection on them.
He illustrated how his beard gave him the confidence to look wise while pondering to make a difficult diagnosis. In fact, they have stated that, in the eyes of several patients, a beard triggers a sense of seniority and wisdom.
Certainly, it is standard procedure to wear hair nets and masks when you are exposed to surgical environments. You may even be expected to be extra cautious of your beard to protect patients from bacterial shedding.
To date, there is very little to no evidence to suggest covering facial hair can fully prevent bacterial transmissions or infectious disease. There is also little evidence to suggest doctors with facial hair are more likely to harbor infectious agents than those with clean-shaven faces.
Whether any type of surgical hat or mask has been linked to bacterial transmission, it is difficult to conduct clinical trials, because this would require potentially exposing patients to the risk of infection from doctors whose hair and skin remain uncovered. Wearing a doctor’s attire is not evidence-based, but rather a recommendation for hospital settings on a national level.
They have also sparked controversy because of their likeliness to harbor and spread infectious agents, even after being washed with soap and water. There are findings that suggest a clean-shaven face is more hygienic and bacteria-resistant, however, until the question of such appearances turns into real medical concerns, to each own.
The team, led by Professor Burch Gandhara from University of Bedfordshire and Dr Ravinder Pal Singh, sought to work on a solution following numerous calls by Public Health England (PHE) to protect doctors from ethnic minorities, including Sikh, Jewish and Muslim communities, who tend to have beards for religious reasons. “Because shaving was a mandatory prerequisite for wearing respirator masks, many members of the faith-observant bearded community, such as Sikh, Jewish and Muslim, have been affected and have had to face the dilemma of redeployment from frontline healthcare jobs involving exposure to COVID-19,” said Gandhara, Professor of Diversity in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire and Director of the university’s Institute for Health Research.
Gandhara recalls a similar situation in the US from back in 2005, when a faith-observant bearded Sikh man was denied the position of a corrections officer in California as the job required staff to occasionally wear a respirator mask. ‘NBC News’ reported at the time that Kamala Harris, the then Attorney-General and now Vice President-elect, was unable to support the appointment as the beard would pose a problem as the policy mandated gas-mask fitting.
Against the backdrop of this conundrum, Manchester-based transplant surgeon Dr Ravinder Pal Singh came up with the idea of using an under-mask beard cover, or a beard band traditionally referred to as the ‘thatch’ by Sikhs, to allow him to wear an FFP3 respirator mask “an essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medics” and his innovation ended up passing the National Health Service (NHS) qualitative Fit Test. “In the current pandemic, for safety reasons, these masks are mandatory for healthcare workers exposed to aerosol generating procedures (Ages) involving COVID-19.
“Facial hair, albeit an accepted risk factor for face-mask leakage, can be overcome by using an under-mask beard cover,” the study concludes. Dr Safari, a dentist based in Hampshire, said the technique also helps overcome crucial cost and supply issues associated with high-level PPE.
“The alternative facemasks recommended for those unable to shave for religious or other reasons, such as PAPER (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) are expensive, limited in supply and are cumbersome to use. The Sikh Doctors Association had reports of some of its members being moved out of their usual shift rota at NHS hospitals for refusing to shave their beards and failing a so-called ‘fit test’ of critical facial protective gear, resulting in a drive to find alternatives.
THE UNKEMPT, HAIRY hipster look is driving a plastic surgery boom in New York, where baby-faced young men are flocking to doctors for beard transplants that can cost a whopping $8,000. Facial surgeons with private practices in Manhattan and Florida say they have seen a phenomenal increase in demand in the last five years, and hipsters are leading the way.
No longer the preserve of fishermen or aging academics, beards are the signature look of urbane men in their 20s and 30s who consider themselves witty, creative and politically progressive. New York surgeon scan perform up to three or four procedures a week for $2,000 to more than $8,000 depending on how much hair needs to be transplanted from scalp to cheek.
Uber-trendy parts of Brooklyn may be New York’s hipster hub, but doctors say patients fly in from across the United States, Britain or even Australia. They say the boom is fuelled not just by changing fashion, but rising awareness and social acceptance of hair transplants, and improved techniques that result in pretty impressive beards.
“These guys kept just streaming in complaining either they can ’t grow much of a beard at all or that they have patchy areas that weren’t filing in properly,” she told AFP. Another reason for brisk trade is that only a handful of hair transplanters are trained in facial plastic surgery.
Glenn Charles works in Florida but told AFP he gets more beard transplant patients from New York than any other state. Before your consultation with the doctor starts, it is important that you answer the following questions.
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