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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, a mask can be used as an effective barrier to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the air or on people. Such droplets are released when a person talks, coughs, sneezes, etc. This recommendation by CDC is based on studies that have shown the role of masks in reducing the spray of droplets. COVID-19 spreads mainly between people in close quarters. It is therefore essential that we wear a mask, especially when we are out and about.
Even though the CDC makes the face mask one of its main recommendations, a few people are choosing plastic shields on the face for protection due to the comfort they offer. However, experts believe that a face shield alone is not enough to protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to experts, plastic shields can be used along with a cloth mask, not instead of it.
According to Dr. Michael B. Edmond from the University of Iowa Health Care, plastic shields can help to reduce the risk of getting infected with the virus. Shields are very effective at preventing droplets from coming in contact with the eyes, mouth, and nose. However, these shields have open areas around the visor through which droplets can still be inhaled.
Studies have shown that face shields block the forward movement of droplets from a cough a sneeze. However, droplets could still move through the sides of the visor and spread out. In another study conducted after the COVID-19 outbreak, people wearing masks did not test positive for the virus whereas people with only face shields tested positive. It was therefore concluded that though a face shield is a great addition to the mask, it should not be used instead of the mask. In the fight against the corona virus, the more the protection, the better it works. So, apart from physical distancing, hygiene, face coverings, and staying at home, the addition of a face shield is a great way to enhance our protection.
Below mentioned are a few steps we can follow to get the most out of our face shields if we decide to use them.
Use a Face Mask with a Shield
According to research, a face shield works best in tandem with a face mask. A proper mask protects us as well as those around us. It becomes a responsibility that we wear a mask when out in public and the favour is returned when others wear a mask too. Masks are extremely effective when both parties wear them. Adding a face shield only enhances the protection for us as well as those around us.
Ensure a Well Fitted Shield
A face shield should be at level with the chin or reach below it. Moreover, the shield should reach the ears on the side. The forehead and shield should have not a gap unless the gap has a cover. If there is a gap, droplets could get through and land on our faces.
Disinfect the Shield After Use
According to the CDC, it is best to follow the instructions mentioned by the manufacturer. If instructions aren’t given, we need to clean the shield with a neutral detergent and warm water to remove any soiling. The shield should then be rinsed with clean water. The face shield then needs to be disinfected with a chlorine-based mix. Alcohol might damage the plastic and glue in the long run. The shield can then be air-dried and moisture removed with clean tissues.
In conclusion, just a face shield does not provide the level of protection needed in our fight against the coronavirus. We can use it along with our face mask to increase protection for us as well as those around us.