Do Face Shields Work Same as Face Masks at Preventing Infectious Particles?

With the growing concern about being safe from infection and illness, people are using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and protective face shield to obtain a high level of protection against viral and bacterial contaminants. Face masks can effectively work as a physical barrier between wearers’ nose and mouth and hazardous substances. While face shields can halt droplets from getting onto your face and keep you from touching your face. 

 

But do face shield offer as much protection as face masks? Is a face shield a better alternative to face mask? Do pay special attention to find out the answers. In this post, we are going to compare the effectiveness of both mask and face shield to give you a clear understanding of what works the best.

Let’s get started!

What is a Face Shield?

 

A face shield is basically a curved plastic or Plexiglas panel that can be effectively used to cover the entire face. They extend down from the forehead and slightly beyond the chin to protect wearers’ eyes, nose, mouth, and face. They can help with speech perception, easy to put on and take off, and reusable. 

It is convenient to be worn by people for very long hours in all environments like oil plants, construction sites, laboratories, workplaces, and more, preventing the wearer from touching their own face which reduces exposure to cross-contamination.

What is Face Mask?

Face masks can be used to block the droplets, splashes, splatters, airborne particles, and other harmful agents that may pass through when a person breathes, talks, coughs, and sneezes. The CDC recommends every individual to wear a mask in public settings like grocery stores and pharmacies or areas where social distancing is hard to maintain. 

KN95 respirator masks are still considered the standard in contagion prevention as it forms a tight seal across mouth and nose, and filter out up to 95% of airborne particles (approx. 0.3 microns) which seems more effective and safe than other options. 

What is the Difference Between Face Mask and Face Shield?

In an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, face masks have become a norm for the entire world. However, just as people are getting used to masks, another kind of facial protective gear is capturing the attention to prevent the contamination risks – face shield. Here’s the difference between the two:

  1. Face masks provide optimum protection for nose and mouth whereas shield safeguards nose, mouth, and eyes.
  2. Masks usually have a tight-fit while shield may leave gaps and allow aerosols to enter.
  3. Masks don’t prevent wearers from touching their face while shield slightly prevents.

As you can see, both have their own sets of pros and cons, face shields aren’t fit as close to the mouth and nose as face masks but they do block infectious particles. Face shield could be a useful adjunct but wearing a face mask along with it proves to be more helpful.

Is Face Shield the Better Option?

If you’ve a habit of touching your face, more often while wearing a mask and need a high level of protection with comfort, you could definitely choose to wear a face shield. But it is not advised to use it alone, but in addition to other PPE like KN95 standard mask and certain preventive measures and therefore, considered a piece of adjunctive equipment. 

A person working in a closed-area factory, mechanical shop, chemical plant, and other risky areas where there is a high risk of environmental factors like flying objects, liquid splashes, fumes, and more should use a face shield. It not only prevents you from touching your face but also allows you to see facial expressions of the wearer or read the lips, making a way for effective communication. 

Do You Need to Use Face Mask and Face Shield Together?

Face shields entirely cover your face from the head extending all the way below the chin which isn’t possible with face masks alone. It is considered far more comfortable and convenient to wear these together to prevent airborne viral and bacterial contaminants. Especially people working in risky areas should wear face shields over masks while it isn’t necessary for the general public to do the same. 

It is important to follow preventive measures like frequent hand washing and social distancing when wearing such equipment in public to maximize its effectiveness. If your face shield gets damaged, do not use it again, instead, find a face shield online that is made with PET material, has an anti-fog function, and foam headband to wear it for long duration with additional comfort. 

More and more people are reaching out for face shields and face masks to keep themselves, their families, and the entire community safe. While face mask have become a new normal to flatten the curve of infection, people are opting to wear a face shield along with a mask to cover their entire face instead of just nose and mouth.

What is the Correct Method to Use a Face Shield?

The face shield can be reused after being sterilized or cleaned properly with soap and water or any disinfectants which seems to be a reliable solution for a lot of people. When wearing a face shield, be sure that it extends lower than your chin, must be beyond your ears and there must be no gaps between the forehead and shields’ headpiece. You can use it as long as they keep their shape and stay intact.

Conclusion:

To sum up, both face shields and face masks have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The KN95 respirator mask offer great protection against airborne particles or any health hazards. On the other hand, face shields could be a good alternative to goggles and can be used in addition to blocking the harmful droplets to enter in mouth, nose, and eyes. It is wise to combine both of them with preventive measures like social distancing to safeguard yourself and the people around you.

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