Whether you're struggling to understand our current pandemic or figuring out which masks actually work, Zeus has you covered. To make things easier, we broke down what experts know about the virus and the most effective ways to prevent its spread. Keep reading to learn more about Covid-19 cloth face masks and subscribe to our newsletter for more beard tips.
What is Covid-19?
Like other coronaviruses, the novel Covid-19 coronavirus affects the respiratory system, causing symptoms like:
- shortness of breath
- loss of smell
- fever and chills
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle aches
Most people who contract Covid-19 will begin to show symptoms two to 14 days after exposure. However, some Covid-19 patients are considered silent carriers who present no symptoms but still transmit the virus to others.
Experts believe the Covid-19 virus spreads through respiratory droplets. When you talk, sneeze or cough within six feet of another person, you're actually expelling respiratory droplets in their direction. And there's nothing quite less appetizing than the fact that those droplets have a high chance of landing on their face and being inhaled into their lungs.
Why is wearing a face mask recommended?
According to the CDC, regularly washing your hands, wearing an effective face mask and practicing social distancing are currently the most effective ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Staying six feet apart halts the range of spraying respiratory droplets while face masks keep your germs contained behind your mask. And with experts still studying other ways the virus may spread, regularly washing your hands fights the idea that the virus may also sit on surfaces you touch.
Face masks are recommended for those over two-years-old who do not otherwise have trouble breathing or are incapacitated.
Which masks offer the most protection?
If you're having trouble choosing between a cloth mask, the N95 option, surgical masks or a makeshift face covering, looking to expert research can help.
Recently, researchers at Duke University tested 14 facial coverings to see which masks were most effective. The N95 mask, technically a respirator, offered the most protection for the wearer and the surrounding participants. However, two issues stand in the way of it being best for the general public.
First, the valved version allows wearers to exhale germs through the holes putting others at risk. On the other hand, the N95 mask without valves proved most effective. For this reason, the CDC considers N95 masks "critical" for health care workers and emergency responders and advises against general public use.
While surgical masks and cloth masks also scored high in the effectiveness rankings, cloth masks offer slightly more protection because they sit tighter to the face.
Which masks should be avoided? The study found that bandanas, knitted coverings and fleece running gear offered nothing more than interesting textures. Specifically, runners' neck gaiters proved less effective than not wearing a mask at all.
Cloth face mask optionsCurrently recommended by the CDC, cloth face masks present the best option for the general public in fighting the spread of Covid-19. They are designed to be worn hooked on the ears, covering both the nose and mouth.
The non-slip comfort mask
When searching for the ideal non-slip mask, it is important to find a cloth covering that secures snug at the ears and face.
The beard protection mask from "MiracleBeWhoYouAre" on Etsy uses soft elastic at the ears and a nose wire to make the mask more form-fitting. In addition, they include a third layer of cotton in the mask to act as a pocket filter for extended protection against spreading germs.
The mask that fully covers your bigger beard
Thankfully, over on Etsy, "That's So Dad" is offering a beard face mask in an XL size. With its extra length and coverage, you no longer have to snip away the bushy beard you worked so hard on.
One reviewer boasted about its effectiveness, writing, "This fit over my giant face and sizable beard. The first mask I've had that doesn't leave a divot in my beard."
The mask with extra personality
If you aren't currently barred by work dress code restrictions, you can also have a little fun with the masks you wear out in public. Since the mask requires you to cover up your beard, you can always slap one on the mask to make up for it.
"Assmasks" on Etsy offers face masks with beards and mustaches printed on them so you can still feel like your bearded self.
Since they aren't as long as some of the other options for bearded men, these masks are best suited to those with scruff or a short beard.
How else can I protect my beard and health during the pandemic?With your face mask picked out and social distancing practices in full swing, you're off to a good start. However, there are a few additional things that can boost your routine and health.
It's important not to neglect your beard health just because you're regularly wearing a mask around. While people may not be able to see your beard's pandemic scraggliness, you'll definitely feel it. Using beard oils and balms not only softens and strengthens your beard but also provides an additional environmental barrier for the sensitive skin underneath.
In addition, it's not just important what you put on your body but also what you put in it. Foods high in vitamin C like broccoli and strawberries help fight off infection. Moreover, green tea has proven effective at boosting immune system function. Adding some of these healthier options into your routine will provide a stronger defense if you do come into contact with the virus.
Finally, limiting the amount of time you spend around others and public spaces is the best bet. While masks help prevention, they aren't a perfect system either. While you still have to hit essential businesses like the grocery store, cutting down unnecessary outings lowers your risk of exposure.
Here at Zeus, we wish all of our readers good health during these uncertain times. For more beard tips and stories, check us out on the Zeus Beard blog and subscribe to our newsletter.