What does the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say about using face shields over n95 masks?

Coming across the people around you with face masks on has officially, in a way, become the new normal all over the world. People are told, and there is a must requirement put forth for them to be wearing masks when they are outside in the public so that it can help prevent the spread of Covid-19 the respiratory illness which has led to a pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus. With each passing day and advancements being made in the manufacturing of personal protective equipment a new method or equipment has been recently launched and is becoming the most preferred one on a very high rate, the product being face shield.

What exactly are face shields?

  • Face Shields are composed of a curved plate of plastic that hovers over the face held in place by multiple different means worn around the head. 
  • The curved plate of plastic is responsible for covering your entire face and usually tends to extend below your chin.
  • Face Shields range in different styles and designs from tinted plastic covers to decked out rhinestone covered accessories.

Are Face Shields more effective than an N95 Respirator?

  • We are very well aware of the fact that the virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets that are produced when we talk, sing, scream or shout, from all the current information and research that has been done on Covid-19. We are aware that there is a large population of asymptomatic positive covid-19 cases, but what we do not know is an excellent understanding of exactly how infectious if at all this population is. In many types of research, it has been discovered that individuals who do become ill with covid-19 are at their most contagious stage just before developing symptoms. Therefore we wear masks to protect not only ourselves but also each other. 
  • A face shield with the nature of its design would more likely allow these droplets to escape; it's just a deflector. Face Shields cannot be considered as perfect because one study conducted in which a cough simulator was used they found out that 4% of particles that were produced by a calf are very much capable of getting under a face Shield and thus resulting in inhalation right after the cough happens.

○    How do Face Shields work?  

■ Face Shields basically involves curved plastic that protects your eyes or your face from infected droplets.

■ They are typically used by healthcare workers for specific procedures where splash or splatter of any kind is likely to occur such as a dentist.

■ The face shield does an excellent job of protecting against the big stuff that you can see, but when it comes to the small particles, it's just easy for that to go around the face field mask and be inhaled.

■ Face Shields can block large particles from getting into your eyes and mouth. They do not prevent the spread of Covid-19 but can help reduce transmission merely acting as a deterrent from you touching your face with unwashed and potentially contaminated hands.

■ Typically Face Shields are single-use, but you can sometimes clean them with plain soap and warm water and recycle for future use.

Should you get yourself a Face Shield?

  • Face Shield can of course act as an additional layer of protection against Covid-19 along with wearing a face mask or N95 Respirators with practising safe social distancing and washing your hands regularly.
  • Face Shields do not replace face masks for N95 Respirators as they do not fit your face and effectively block respiratory droplets from the air around you.
  • Face Shields should be worn in addition to a mask not on their own only if you cannot wear a cover for a multitude of reasons should the next best thing be a shield.
  • It would help if you kept in mind that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend face Shields for everyday activities as the substitute for face coverings and as most of the places all over the world are on mandatory face carvings in public, a face Shield is not classified as a good face-covering according to state and health officials. 

Is there any future where the face Shields will be recommended by public health organisations like NIOSH?

There are mixed opinions from experts all around the world on this pressing topic that if public Health organisations will recommend the face shield.

Some of the very highlighted issues about if or not face shields will ever be allowed by are: 

  • They can have a downfall or restriction because they make you project your voice to be heard clearly and thus counting as one of the shortcomings of face shields.
  • The Face Shields are not very comfortable, and it can be tough to continue wearing them for an extended period.
  • They also feature the problem of getting formed easily and getting a humid environment inside it, which is not pleasant. These might cause the general public to not incline towards Face Shields. 

Public Health Organisations like NIOSH might in future recommend wearing Face Shields, considering the shortage of N95 respirators and a way to be more guarded towards the rapidly growing pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus. Though NIOSH will likely allow Face Shields eventually they will not allow wearing the Face Shields all alone cause studies conducted have shown and made it clear that they are not 100% trustable.

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