Face Shields Are Not Safe Alternatives To Cloth Masks

Plastic face shields are abundant among beauty salon and restaurant employees nowadays. It’s essentially the equivalent of the spit guards that most stores installed at cashier stations to protect customers and employees. That being said, health officials say that plastic face shields are not meant to replace cloth facial coverings or N95 respirator masks.

The plastic face shield, which is a thin piece of plastic that covers your face, is an added layer of protection. The fact that they attach to glasses makes them attractive and more comfortable than masks. They don’t make your face hot, fog up your glasses, or contribute to “maskne,” a new term that describes the blemishes people develop as a result of mask wearing. At the same time, plastic face shields do not effectively block aerosol droplets from entering or leaving your mouth and nose. That means that they are not effective at protecting you from coronavirus.

Do Face Shields Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19?

As many health experts have noted, the primary method of COVID-19 transmission is via respiratory droplets. Face shields help to protect the wearers from some (not all) droplets from others, and they also protects others from droplets we spray. Since many droplets are invisible to the naked eye, it’s difficult to determine how effective face shields are at blocking them. There is room on the sides and under the mask for infected droplets to come in contact with your nose, mouth, or eyes. Cloth facial coverings, on the other hand, completely cover the nose and mouth, keeping you protected. If you couple the face shield with the mask, you add another layer of protection.

How Effective Are Face Shields?

As previously discussed, they do offer mild protection for the people who wear them. Health experts say that there isn’t enough data or published studies to determine how effective they are at combatting the coronavirus. About a month or so ago, there was a COVID-19 outbreak at a hotel in Switzerland. The hotel staff that contracted the virus only wore face shields without facial coverings, whereas the staff members who wore facial coverings were safe. The Swiss government has since told people that they should not rely on plastic face shields to keep them safe from coronavirus. While the masks are mildly protective, aerosol droplets can find their way into the area behind the mask, meaning they are not an effective replacements for cloth masks.

How To Get The Most Protection From Face Shields

Make Sure It Fits Well:

The looser the fit, the more prone you are to exposing yourself to aerosol droplets. The shield should go down below your chin, and it shouldn’t be moving around on your face. The shield needs to reach back to the ears, and you need to make sure that there are no gaps between your forehead and the front of the shield.

Wear A Mask With The Shield:

The plastic face shield is simply an added layer of protection if you already wear a face mask. Cloth facial coverings ultimately help protect others, limiting the spread of the virus. If everyone wears them, it becomes difficult for community transmission to occur. When you wear a mask and a face shield around others who don’t have masks on, you are sufficiently protected.

Always Disinfect Your Shield:

As with any high touch surface, you should disinfect your shield after each use. Alcohol can harm or warp the plastic shield, so it is wise to use a chlorine-based solution for sanitation. Using alcohol can also remove any anti-glare protection on the face shield.

Sources:

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/face-shields-replace-masks-experts-hope-work-resort/story?id=72092931
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/will-a-face-shield-protect-you-from-the-coronavirus/
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200806-are-face-shields-effective-against-covid-19#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThey%20are%20certainly%20not%20effective,as%20a%20substitute%20for%20masks.

2020-09-01T12:24:54-07:00