“Keep calm and grow longgg beard” is true no more. Research shows that men’s beards are red flags for infection! Be it a goatee, royale, stubble or long flowing one, germs do love your whiskers.
In February 2019 a study was published in the well known journal European Radiology. Headed by a team of scientists of Switzerland and Austria, the study was titled “Would it be safe to have a dog in the MRI scanner before your own examination? “
Man Beard vs Canine Fur – what led to the study?
No one would ever place hygiene of dogs superior to men, would they? We are told to wash our hands well after petting dogs. The study was aimed to detect what germs the dogs carry to infect humans and how dangerous are they to us.
Veterinarian doctors often use MRI scanners of hospitals to diagnose their canine patients. The reason is that MRI scanners are quite expensive to get. That is why man and dog often share the same machine. Every time a dog gets through the scan it is hygienically and clinically cleansed to prevent the spread of pathogens from canines to humans. The test was conducted to check what kind of pathogens dogs carried to the MRI scanners that could be infectious to humans.
Ironically, results came just the contrary.
For this experiment, 18 healthy bearded men were chosen. The men were between the ages of 18 to 76. 30 dogs were selected from different breeds.
Samples were collected from different parts of the body of both the species. They took saliva samples of the canines and also swabs from those parts of the body that can typically get dirtier.
Shockingly, even the ‘dirtiest’ parts of the dog body showed to contain less pathogens than from the men. Most germs were detected in the men’s beards.
Not only that men’s beards were dirtier than dogs, the men also carried dangerous human pathogens in their pampered whiskers.
Men’s beards harbour pathogens and microbes
Are you one of those who prefers clean shaven men? Well, you have scientific proof to back you up.
Scientists and professors at Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic took various samples from the facial hair of men. They evaluated those results with samples taken from the dogs. The result showed that all of the 18 men, who were bearded have high counts of microbes and pathogens. However only 23 out of 30 dogs had any high count of germs. In others words. dogs came out clean.
Out of all the men who carried germs, seven of them carried microbes that can cause life threatening diseases. These 7 men out of 18, and 4 dogs out of 30 were found to carry human-pathogenic microbes. These microbes can enter the human body and cause infections and illness. Some of these microbes were Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus. Enterococcus faecalis enters the human body and causes infection in the gut. It also causes the Urinary Tract Infection. Enterococcus faecalis colonizes on mucous in the body and causes serious illness by entering the blood stream.
Scientists also found that more microbes were present in “human oral cavities than in dog oral cavities”.
The key points of the test study say that –
- Bearded men harbour significantly more microbes than dogs.
- Dogs are no risk to humans if they use the same MRI.
- Deficits in hospital hygiene are a relevant risk for patients.
You can read the study report from the journal European Radiology here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00330-018-5648-z
Should all men become clean shaven?
Needless to say, the results were shocking. The scientific results break our proud perception of human superiority. A multitude of cosmetics and lotions did not save the day for bearded men.
Now any questions arise. Should all men shave off their mustaches and beards? Scientists aim to conduct more experiments on this.
Many men have expressed disbelief. Beards are more often washed than hair but results show that men’s beards have more germs than their own hair.
One plausible explanation for this is being close to nature makes us more disease and germ resistant. Even dogs kept at home use only a fraction of the cosmetics and unnecessary lotions we humans are made to use. That is why many doctors recommend children to grow up with pets because it makes them healthier and stronger when they grow up.
Do humans pose a threat to the health of the pets?
This study in Switzerland also revealed another appalling fact. If you have a dog and it goes through tests at a hospital where humans are also tested, you should be concerned. Previously we thought the other way round that humans should be careful. Now the canines should be kept safe from human infections.
Many have claimed to carry out more such studies. These will not only include men but also women.
This has also serious implications for the hospital hygiene. Who would have thought that healthy and clean men would be carrying such dangerous pathogens. Earlier hospitals were reluctant to let dogs undergo MRI scans; now it is just the opposite. Vets are worried about the health of their canine patients in a human hospital.
A study on US hospitals shows that about 1.7 million patients suffer from healthcare associated infections (HAIs). This means hospital sanitization is not good enough. About 100,000 patients die every year due to these infections picked from the hospitals.
One of the most affected places in the hospital is the hospital curtain, according to the American Journal of Infection Control. It shows to contain pathogens and super-bugs which can make even the healthiest fall sick.
However when it comes to the commonplace men’s beards who would have thought of it being so dangerous? It has been the symbol of intellect, macho-ism, religion and fashion in many societies. Some men would also keep beards to make them older and more contemplative.
As science advances every day and we find out more ailments, it also brings new cures. Men who prefer beards are looking forward to a realistic and hygienic solution instead of being a pathogen’s home.
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