For many of us, face masks are now a daily part of our lives. Donning our face coverings, we venture back into our offices, visit stores to replenish our pandemic supplies, or head out to restaurants or gyms to try to regain something of our old routines.
However, cloth masks aren’t always enough, or a good fit for practical reasons. And while face shields have long been a go-to piece of protective equipment for health care workers, typically paired with N95 masks for optimal protection, a growing number of health experts are pointing to some advantages of face shields for wider use.
Face shields offer an extra layer of protection, particularly for the eyes, that face masks cannot provide. They are not a substitute for masks in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain, however, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing a lack of evidence that shields are an effective means of source control, does not currently recommend their use as a substitute for cloth masks in such situations.
Cover the Eyes for Greater Protection
Still, for optimal effectiveness against the spread of COVID-19, a face shield carries a few key benefits, particularly when used in combination with a mask. A mask may offer more protection against transmitting the virus to others when social distancing is not possible, while a shield offers additional protection to the wearer.
Shields can also prevent wearers from touching their faces. Dr. Amesh Adalja, a pandemic preparedness expert at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, points out in a recent article that people wearing homemade cloth masks are “invariably touching their face constantly to adjust it.”
With a face shield, Adalja said, you are less likely to touch your face, decreasing the chances of viral infection. Shields may also offer more protection to the wearer because the mucous membranes of the eyes are not exposed, Adalja says.
Dr. Eli Perencevich, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, writes in the Journal of the American Medical Association that “Unlike masks, which help prevent users from spreading COVID-19, face shields also protect those wearing them from infection.” The article references a 2014 study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene that analyzed the efficacy of face shields against aerosol droplets from a cough simulator. The study found that face shields reduced exposure to inhaling contaminated droplets by 96%.
Safety that Doesn’t Compromise Accessibility
Transparent face shields may offer additional advantages in settings where obscuring the mouth is problematic. For communication with those who rely on lip reading, a transparent face shield may be a better option.
Face shields offer protection of the mouth, nose, and eyes without obscuring the face. Face shields are worn like visors, with a foam rim and a thin, curved plastic shield that extends below the chin. Face shields can bring an added level of protection and comfort in a variety of settings from beauty salons, to dental offices and educational settings where effective communication relies on full facial visibility.
PPE for a Wide Array of Workers
TPH has a selection of both face masks and shields to protect your employees and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our products are manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and our face shields – available in units ranging from 10-packs to pallet quantities – are produced by Chicago manufacturers.
Throughout months of shortages, TPH has worked to supply local medical workers, nonprofits, and VA hospital and group homes across the country with a reliable supply of PPE. With fast shipping and high-quality products, the TPH team is dedicated to keeping frontline workers across the U.S. safe.
To learn more about our PPE, click the link below to contact us.