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Question: Does anyone have tips for making masks more effective for those who have a beard for religious reasons?

nshapiro is asking a question about general
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by nshapiro | April 10, 2020 01:02 | #23357

Does anyone have tips for making masks more effective w a beard? I'm asking at the request of people on the inside that have beards for religious reasons and have cellmates that are all over the facility (w confirmed cases) for work. All the advice I see is "just shave it" but that shouldn't be the only way. They’re sleeping w their mask on, terrified.

I've seen articles about some masks being made in isreal to accommodate beards but haven't seen any plans. the masks used in prison are non-medical grade, made of cloth. image description


Hi Nick-

Question: are you hoping to come up with some ideas for people on the inside who are making their own masks, or are you thinking about organizing donations of masks/materials (this is obviously much more challenging, but may not be impossible).

My understanding (I've been fitted for respirators in the past, though that was a loooong time ago) is that the issue with facial hair is that it prevents a respirator-style mask from sealing properly on a user's face (you get suction when it's on right), allowing unfiltered air into the mix, but cloth/surgical/paper style masks aren't designed to seal on the face-- they just provide a barrier-- the molded/cup style masks have a closer fit and therefore a better barrier, but that's about it. I'm guessing even a slightly larger version of the deaconess mask-- maybe one with the bands running lengthwise that could scoop under a wearer's chin and be tied off with a little tension (not containing abeard, but pushing it back a bit) would at least be on par with most of the fabric masks that are out there (which sadly, is still a very limited amount of protection).

It might be a little moot given the overall shortage of PPE and the obstacles that exist to getting anything into the hands of incarcerated individuals, but for folks with beards who require respirators, there are versions that are more like a hood than a mask (look up "bardas"-- that's one of the styles out there, and there are some interesting Q&As here: : and here:

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Oh, this group might be helpful too:

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Thanks, Bronwen! I think its also for the filtering masks too, no? like this CDC facial hair mask from the CDC has been circulating and not related to respirator types

I think either people donating masks that accommodate beards--Muslim men have achieved freedom of religion victories in prisons in recent years to allow religious specific items to be donated and homemade masks have also been cleared in some states if they go through the right groups. So either handmade outside or potentially made inside.

I think guys on the inside just want the best barrier they can get as they can basically control zero aspects of their exposure other than their mask and their own hand washing when they have soap. Like I've spoken to people that have a cell mates that refuse to wash hands or wear a mask and who have jobs that put them into contact w/ hundreds of people so really any level of improvement would be great. Its so strange to me that there is no resources on this (that I've been able to find)!

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Hmm maybe that link was more for the respirator type you are talking about. but the risk reduction part still holds :)

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PublicLab 1. It should be bigger than usual size. 2. Big elastic thread , so that it can be tied over the turban easily.

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PublicLab Not the best of my pencil sketch, but something like this might help. Increase the thread size, so that it can be tied across the back of turban than ears.

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Shared this on Twitter and received some replies. The reply-by-tweet function didn't share the images properly in the comments above.

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Thank you very much! The concern is less about reach around the head and more about the tightness of fit.

This study shows that healthcare workers w/ full beards never achieved adequate fit.!

this study suggests simply using a second face mask could work instead of changing the design of the mask. unsure about efficacy!

Yes, I figured that was the case but wanted to make sure that person's response was captured here.

Have you seen these longer masks that go down to the shoulders? I'd imagine they might get quite warm, but they'd probably be pretty easy to produce. I saw them as an ad on a Times of Israel article about masks:

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