Face shields became popular, but can they protect us from coronavirus?

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The FINANCIAL — Over the past few months, wearing face masks has indeed become a daily routine. Concerned citizens scramble to find ways to protect themselves from the spreading of coronavirus. Can face shields be used instead of face masks? Experts are divided if they protect against coronavirus or not. There are more than a few benefits to adding a clear plastic shield into our mask-wearing routines.

The study, published in 2014 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, analyzed how well face shields block aerosol droplets. By using cough simulators, researchers found that face shields reduced exposure to inhaling cough droplets by 96 percent. But the author of the study, William Lindsley, a research biomedical engineer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said the general public should stick to cloth face coverings, NBC News wrote.

Face shields are easy to clean and reuse; they can help cut down on face-touching instances while also wearing a mask (think anything from clearing off lens-fog on glasses to readjusting masks in order to sip a drink). However, it’s important to note: according to a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, in order for a face shield to act effectively, it should extend below the chin and out to the ears (with no exposed gap between the forehead and the headpiece). Since clinical testing has not been performed and information regarding the spread of droplets and disease is ever-evolving, at this time, a face shield should only be used as an extra form of protection in addition to a mask, according to Refinery 29.

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According to CDC, it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

If face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

“From what we know right now, face shields by itself — unless there’s a bottom and side covering — is not equal to a face mask,” said Dr. Jim Kravec, Mahoning County medical director. Kravec said face shields add an extra layer of protection, especially in a hospital setting, when worn with a mask. For the general public, though, a mask is still the recommendation.He said there’s still a lot of research being done on this topic, but from what health experts know right now — and based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — face shields should not be worn by themselves unless there’s a bottom and side covering,but according to him face shield is better than nothing, WKBN wrote.

CDC recommends to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

CDC recommend Cloth face coverings as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

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As face masks on flights become the norm, the Middle East based airline – Qatar Airways is taking air travel safety a step further. Passengers must now wear both mask and shield “at all times” the airline says. That is “from boarding to disembarkation at your destination”. The shields are distributed at check-in, or at your boarding gate. During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers–including business class–must don the protective gear. Those who refuse to will not be able to fly, Forbes reported.

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