Do Face Shields Provide Better Protection from Coronavirus?
Face shields, worn by the medical community for years to protect from splashes and splatter in operating rooms, dental chairs, and hospital settings are now being encouraged by the medical community for use in non-medical settings. As states reopen following the coronavirus pandemic, many industries may now require the use of a shield in conjunction with a mask, or in instances when a mask cannot be worn (i.e. someone is suffering from asthma or has difficulty breathing).
ADDING EYE PROTECTION IS PIVOTAL POINT
The latest research on coronavirus cites the virus’ transmission primarily through droplets, expelled when someone coughs, sneezes or talks within close distance. Unlike a mask which creates a barrier for one’s nose and mouth, a face shield provides coverage for mouth, nose and eyes from discharged droplets. This added eye protection is the critical difference, as the virus is capable of being contracted through your eyes.
WHY A SHIELD MAY BE BETTER
SELF recently published an article citing a study which placed a face shield on a breathing robot and had another robot 18 inches away “cough out” the flu virus. Remarkably, the shield prevented the breathing robot from inhaling 96 percent of the virus.
While most coronavirus particles discharged by a sneeze and/or cough are thought to be brought down by gravity within a radius of six feet, a safety face shield can provide added protection from encounters between two people that are closer than six feet from one another.
PLACES SHIELDS SHOULD BE WORN
Salons, barbershops, teachers and educational advisors, tourism and travel professionals, among other industries, are beginning to benefit from the utilization of facial shields for added protection from coronavirus.
A recent article by The Wall Street Journal, outlined two great examples:
- Schools, especially those with younger children, may benefit from offering face shields to staff to protect them from children’s coughs and sneezes while also giving students the ability to see their teacher’s facial inflections and mouth movements while speaking.
- Face shields may also work well in restaurants and other hospitality industries where masks can provide a barrier to seeing one’s smile or facial cues.
In salons, barber shops and spas, where it is not possible to maintain six feet of distance from a client, a shield, when used in tandem with other protection equipment, can help protect the wearer from discharged droplets emitted while talking.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
When evaluating an eye protection shield, you’ll want to look for a product that extends below your chin, preferably to the nape of your neck for adequate protection. An ultra-clear lens will help you see better (and help people see you), and if you are planning on reusing your shield, you’ll want to find one that is capable of withstanding the cleaning procedures you will be using. Lastly, if you’ll be wearing your face shield for extended periods of time, source one with a foam pad along the forehead, and an adjustable strap will ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
We’ve developed an ultra-clear, reusable face shield which is currently being used by NYU Langone and Stony Brook hospitals in New York, along with many other medical professionals. Read more here.