Nurses in Wuhan, China, wearing protective gear give a thumbs up after shaving off their hair.
  • Chinese nurses heading to Wuhan are shaving their heads to help them fight the coronavirus epidemic more effectively.
  • Having no hair achieves a few things: it prevents the infection from spreading via exposed hair, and also makes it easier to put on and take off protective gear.
  • Time pressure for medical staff in Wuhan is extreme, and saving even a few minutes a day is seen as worthwhile.
  • Extreme measures being taken include wearing adult diapers instead of taking bathroom breaks.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Chinese nurses are voluntarily shaving their heads to reduce the risk of cross-contamination while fighting the coronavirus at hospitals in Wuhan.

Shaved heads are just one example of sacrifices medical staff are making as they head to the front line of the epidemic.

As of Tuesday morning local time, the novel coronavirus, formally known as 2019-nCoV, has killed more than 1,000 people and infected nearly 43,000.

A video posted by the People's Daily China, the country's largest newspaper, shows nurses from the Shaanxi province shaving their heads before shipping out to Wuhan.

As well as cutting down on the potential spread of pathogens, having no hair also makes the process of putting on and taking off protective hazmat suits easier, according to a video posted by China's official Xinhua news agency.

Shan Xia, who works as a nurse at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, shaved all of her hair at the end of January, China Daily reported.

Hospital staff in Wuhan are going to extreme lengths to save time and get to more patients, including wearing adult diapers instead of taking bathroom breaks.

The virus is taking a physical toll on medical staff, leaving some with skin bleached whiter from disinfectant, and their faces marked by lines from masks digging into their skin.

The emotional toll is apparent as well, with some doctors passing breaking point as they struggle with an ever-increasing volume of cases.

"I think it is a strain for every doctor and every nurse in Wuhan, both physically and mentally," Beijing-based therapist Candice Qin told The Washington Post. "We know that patients are worried, but we should bear in mind that doctors are just as human as well."

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: