DURBAN – While face masks have become the norm, some people are wearing another type of face-covering a clear plastic shield that covers their entire face known as a face shield.
In efforts to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government has made into law that people are required to wear a face mask in public.
In a Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA article, a team of experts from the University of Iowa believes that face shields might replace masks as a more comfortable and more effective deterrent to Covid-19.
According to Dr Eli Perencevich who is the team leader, face shields are easier to disinfect than cloth masks, and it’s easier to breathe while wearing one. Face shields prevent the wearer from touching much if not all of their face, while a cloth mask only covers the nose, cheeks, and mouth. There’s also no need to remove a shield when you’re talking to someone, which people tend to do with a mask.
“Face shields, which can be quickly and affordably produced and distributed, should be included as part of strategies to safely and significantly reduce transmission in the community setting,” he said.
However, not all experts agree that face shields are better than face masks. Infectious disease specialist Bruce Polsky says that as Personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, a face shield is always worn in addition to a face mask, and is not a substitute for one.
“They’re particularly important in situations for health care workers where there’s a risk of aerosol spread of the disease and social distancing is not possible. The point of a face shield is to provide an extra layer of protection and to protect the eyes when in close contact with someone that has or is suspected to have Covid-19,” said Dr Polsky.
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