Face shields are one of the most popular forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) that people are using to protect themselves against the novel coronavirus.
But all of this begs the question – what is considered a face shield? Why do we need a face shield? And how does a face shield actually protect us from catching the coronavirus?
First, let’s take a look at the different elements of face shields.
Face shields are created, designed, and tested following the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA.)
By these standards, face shields must consist of three major components.
Visors are the big plastic lenses that shield the wearer from the outside world. They’re usually manufactured by using different materials, some of which include polycarbonate, propionate, or polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG.)
The recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are that visors should be of sufficient width to reach at least the point of the ear (or even beyond it.) Not only that, but visors should sufficiently cover the crown and chin so they can ensure a full-face protection.
Because the materials used to create visors are easy to find and affordable, producing disposable, reusable, replaceable face shields is easy and inexpensive.
The frame of a face shield is made of lightweight plastic. The frame itself does not play a major role in increasing disease prevention chances, but it does play a role in ensuring the adjustability of the face shield and the comfort of the wearer. There are many types of frame styles – adjustable, non-adjustable, full or partial, and more.
- Suspension system.
Face shield suspension systems on the market come with either complete or partial circumferential attachments.
Completely circumferential suspension systems can be as simple as plastic headbands that are adjustable for comfort through a specific mechanism, or non-adjustable systems that employ elastic straps. Once again, the emphasis here is on adjustability and comfort.
How can face shield protect us from COVID-19?
Face shields are an accessible way to get a barrier between you and the outside world. Since the majority of COVID-19 transmissions happen because of acutely-released aerosols of body fluids, face shields allow you to stop them in their tracks and not let them reach your face.
Face shields are commonly used as alternatives to surgical masks and googles, especially by people at high risk of exposure to the virus such as service industry workers and medical personnel.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that, when exposed to a cough aerosol simulator loaded with influenza virus, the face shields provided respectively 96 percent and 92 percent reductions in the risk of inhalational exposure.
Medical-grade face shields designed specifically for healthcare professionals do provide an individual with a higher degree of protection when compared to surgical masks or cloth masks. They do not, however, provide a higher degree of protection than medical-grade respiratory masks such as N95.
Are face shields more effective than surgical masks or cloth masks for preventing coronavirus transmission?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been continuously advocating the use of cloth masks to protect yourself from COVID-19. However, laboratory testing has suggested that they provide a low degree of filtration when it comes to virus-sized particles in the air.
That’s where face shields become a more effective option.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also published a study article authored by William G. Lindsley, in which they concluded that wearing a face shield reduces the inhalational exposure to aerosol particles by up to 96 percent. (Source)
A face shield, when worn properly, should cover the ears and the area below your chin, creating a shielding wall between your face and the outside world. Therefore, face shields do provide us with a reasonable, inexpensive, and effective alternative to regular masks.
Face shields also provide an extra degree of comfort, and they allow you to communicate freely with those around you without the need to pull your mask off. They’re much easier to use and less intimidating, and they also prevent you from touching your own face – which we all do, unconsciously.
And while there is limited research on the effectiveness of face shields in blocking respiratory droplets released by the wearer, they will at least direct them downwards instead of letting them fly off in front of you.
If you find a face shield that’s lightweight, clear, and it fits you well, it will provide you with a much better and more comfortable experience than traditional surgical or cloth masks.
The correct way to wear a face shield.
- Face shields should extend lower than the chin.
- Face shields must be placed beyond the ears.
- There should be no gap between the wearer’s forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
This is what experts at the University of Iowa consider the best way to wear your face shield in order for it to provide you with the highest degree of protection.
Where to buy face shields?
If you’re looking to buy face shields for yourself and your family:
Browse Clinical Supplies USA’s collection of face shields in our store here.
If you’re looking to purchase wholesale face shields for sale/distribution to your local community:
Reach out to us and inquire for any purchase above 2,000 units here.