Should I wear a face shield?

We look at face shields and how they compare to masks. The many benefits of wearing one as part of a strategy to reduce the risk of Covid-19, even if they don't provide direct protection.

Are Face shields effective?

Face shield colour visor

It was revealed earlier this month by the UK government's SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) advisory panel, that based on current evidence, 'face shields are not an effective measure against airborne transmission' of COVID-19. That doesn't however mean face shields don't help.

Making informed decisions on protection

Face shield and mask

When the government first announced on the 15th June that face masks were to become mandatory in public places, employers used their own initiative to decide which face masks were best suited to their employees. The government simply stated that a face covering must be worn in public places, 'which safely covers the nose and mouth'.

The government has now recommended that employees who are currently choosing to wear face visors must wear a face mask also. This is a result of SAGE identifying that face shields are 'unlikely to provide any protection against inhalation of aerosols.'

So how do face shields help?

Eye Protection

Bumpcap

Unlike face masks, face shields protect the wearer's eyes. This ensures water droplets that could contain the virus cannot directly reach the wearer of a face shield.

The SAGE report theorised that face coverings would not protect a wearer against the inhalation of aerosols, but could protect a wearer against large droplets. Therefore, face shields can be seen to provide a further degree of protection for the wearer.

Face Touching

Touch face

A face shield can also act as a constant reminder for an individual to not touch their face, eyes and hair. This will prevent any bacteria or water droplets on their hands from reaching and contaminating their face. We wrote a blog recently about just how often we touch our face and just how important it is not too.

Wearing your shield correctly

Like a face mask, a face shield must be worn correctly and be taken on and off in the correct way. The visor must cover the entire face, particularly the nose and mouth. The visor must also be curved, to prevent water droplets from entering or exiting the visor sideways and must be correctly sized to a face and extend below the chin.

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