Should I be wearing Face Shield or Cloth Mask?

Posted on : August 6, 2020

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Should I be wearing Face Shield or Cloth Mask? — Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.

This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another, so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in situations where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Face Shields

As for face shields, they are known as personal protective equipment (PPE) devices that are used by many medical workers for protection of the facial area and associated mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids. However, this equipment commonly cannot be used alone, but in conjunction with other protective equipment. Although there are many people using face shields, guidelines for their use vary and little research is available regarding their efficacy.

Face shields are PPE that are commonly used as barrier protection for infection control purposes by numerous workers. Due to the lack of a good facial seal peripherally that can allow for aerosol penetration, face shields should not be used as solitary face/eye protection, but rather as adjunctive to other PPE (protective face masks, goggles, etc.).

Should I wear a face shield?

It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. 

Some people may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with other people is expected. If face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended. Should I be wearing Face Shield or Cloth Mask?

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