Doctors in hospitals are expected to continuously and meticulously clean their hands throughout the day, but what about their beards?

Medical ethicist and the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center Art Caplan recently wrote a blog post saying that at hospitals, beards work like brooms, sweeping up infectious viruses, infectious microbes, and infectious bacteria. He joined Boston Public Radio Wednesday to discuss the potential health risks that doctors with beards could pose.

“Those beards are nests of infection, just crawling with microbes,” said Caplan. "If you are in a hospital and you are around all these bugs and infectious things, unless you are going to wash your beard every hour, it is pretty hard to keep them out of there.”

While Caplan would like to see only beardless doctors, he realizes that this goal is unrealistic, seeing that making sure everyone washes their hands already necessitates an overwhelming amount of supervision.

Caplan suggested that doctors with beards could minimize their hygiene risk by keeping their facial hair short and trimmed. “Moustaches are a little better,” he said. “Two cheers for hygiene and one for a razor,” Caplan continued.

Click the audio player above for the full interview with Art Caplan.