We have been wearing masks for a while now. Some of us can wear them effortlessly while others not so much. Let’s just say this new normal accessory has been added a little frustration to some of our daily activities. But whether we like it or not, masks are not going away anytime soon.
What’s the alternative to foggy glasses, irritation, discomfort and overall annoyance? Say hello to Disposable Medical Face Shields. They are on fashion sites, and perhaps you have seen someone wearing one at the store. But are Face Shields truly the best option when it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19 or its new variants?
What is a Face Shield?
The Face Shields have been used in healthcare settings for a while now, but they have become a staple for medical personnel who have patients with coronavirus. The Face shields are often worn during a wide variety of medical procedures. This includes surgeries or any procedure where blood or other bodily fluids could get into the eyes, nose, and mouth.
A Face Shield is simply a curved plastic or plexiglass panel attached to a headband that can be worn over the face. It should fit securely, so there isn’t a gap between the band and the forehead. The Face Shield should also extend beyond the chin and extend down from the forehead, which shields protect the eyes as well as the nose and mouth; the coverage that face shields offer is ideal since COVID-19 can enter the body through those points.
Is a Face Shield Ideal for Everyday Use?
The CDC does not recommend wearing Face Shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for a Face Mask. However, some people may choose to use a Face Shield when they know that they will be in close contact with others. In these cases, it is best to wear a Face Mask underneath the Face Shield and maintain physical distancing when possible.
The CDC also says if Face Shields are used without a Face Mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin.
How to Keep a Face Shield Clean
As mentioned earlier, Face Masks absorb droplets when we sneeze or cough. Face Shields do not absorb anything because they are non-porous; should you decide to wear a reusable Face Shield, you will need to sanitize it frequently. COVID-19 likes to live on plastic a lot better than it likes to live on porous materials like cloth, paper, or cardboard. So again, clean your Face Shield once you take it off. You can sterilize it with an antibacterial wipe, alcohol pad, or soap and water.
If your Face Shield cracks or becomes damaged, do not continue to use it. Many places offer Face Shields in bulk. This makes it easier for you to throw away the damaged Face Shield and move on to the next one.
Pro’s and Con’s
Pro: It’s hard to wear a Face Shield incorrectly Unlike Face Masks — which people tend to let slip under their nose, or worse, off their face completely. Just make sure it is positioned properly: The forehead band should sit approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch above the eyebrows.
Con: Face Shields can be uncomfortable; those who find Face Masks uncomfortable and are in search of an alternative may be disappointed to learn that Face Shields have a few drawbacks, as well. For starters, they can be bulky to wear, especially the Face Shields that wrap around the sides of your face to maximize protection. As well, people who wear face shields on top of their Face Masks may find they need to speak louder and more clearly when communicating with others.
Pro: Face Shields are easy to find, from online PPE suppliers to high-end retail shops.
Con: Be wary of low-quality models. Just make sure that if you purchase a Face Shield, you get one that provides sufficient coverage. (Some models shield only the mouth and nose, for example.) Look for one that is “sealed at the top” onto a visor and wraps around the sides of your face to your ears. The bottom of the shield should extend below the chin. Face Shields need a little routine care to ensure effectiveness. Reusable Face Shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use, or best simply throw out if possible and replace it.