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The Role of Face Shields or Visors in Responding to COVID-19

The Role of Face Shields or Visors in Responding to COVID-19

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Staying healthy and uninfected during the pandemic era is a challenge that every single human being is facing while coronavirus continues its unhindered transmission throughout the world.

With the emergence of this extremely contagious, serious, and life-threatening virus, a ‘new normal’ has also surfaced – a new routine that revolves around staying safe, and keeping others safe.

Since safety and health has become a priority, the human race has started following various preventive measures that includes wearing the ‘right kind protective equipment’ whenever you’re out in public, or standing less than 2 meters away from another person who may or may not have Covid-19.

What is this ‘right kind of protective equipment?

While most of us believe that a face mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer is all that’s needed to keep the corona germs away, experts tend to disagree.

In other words, face masks do not provide maximum protection against Covid-19, especially in cases when an individual comes in close contact with an infected person, such as when taking care of a Covid-19 patient.

So, what is it that can actually keep the virus at bay by offering full protection against the infectious airborne droplets or particles? Face shields or visors is the answer of most experts and medical professionals. Let’s discover all the reasons why!

How Much Protection do Face Masks Offer?

When we think about the pandemic era, an image of face masks is what comes to our mind before anything else. That’s because face masks, including plain cloth masks, surgical masks, as well as respirators, are now worn by almost every single person who wishes to stay healthy.

While there’s no doubting the fact that face masks and respirators do provide protection against Covid-19, they don’t offer ‘maximum’ protection.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), Covid-19 enters the respiratory system of an individual through his mouth, nose, or eyes. Which means, you can get infected if:

If you breathe in the infectious airborne particles or droplets that come out when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

If the respiratory droplets of an infected individual reach your eyes.

If you touch something contaminated and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

In a sense, to keep yourself from getting infected by Covid-19, you need to cover your mouth, nose, and eyes, while making sure you don’t transmit the germs from your hands to your face.

So, one of the major reasons why masks aren’t enough to keep you safe, is because they don’t cover your eyes. Hence, face masks and respirators don’t offer protection against the coronavirus germs that may enter your body through the eyes, even when your mouth and nose are properly covered.

In addition to this, experts are ambiguous about the protection offered by face mask, because:

Cloth masks are made of poor-quality material and may not be effective enough.

Surgical masks do not filter tiny aerosols and fine respiratory droplets, hence putting you at a risk of getting infected even when you’re wearing a mask.

Masks can be mis-handled while taking off and there’s a risk of the infectious bacteria being transferred from the mask to the wearer’s mouth or nose.

All of these reasons bring us to the conclusion that face masks do not offer enough protection, and you can still get infected while wearing a mask if you’re in close proximity to an infected individual, or taking care of a Covid-19 patient.

Why do You Need Visors or a Face Shield?

Now that you know masks aren’t too effective, you must be questioning what is? Right?

Well, visors and faces shields, that are currently worn only by the frontline medical professionals, can offer all the protection that masks don’t.

That’s because:

Face shields or visors cover the wearer’s whole face, from forehead to below the chin.

They offer protection from tiny droplets and aerosols that are not filtered by masks.

They cover the eyes of the wearer and keep the infectious droplets from entering the respiratory system through eyes. They form a barrier and keep the wearer from touching his/her face, hence effectively reducing the transmission of infectious bacteria from hands to the mouth, nose, or eyes.

They are known to reduce one’s exposure to the virus by 96%.

Additionally, face shields are also a more comfortable option as compared to face masks or respirators. Here’s how: Face shields do not retain as much dermal facial heat as masks do.

Visors or face shields have no impact on the wearer’s breathing.

They do not cause fogging as goggles do.

Shields have no impact on the wearer’s vocalization, and are also a better option for individuals with impaired speech or hearing.

They are reusable, and can also be washed or disinfected.

Shields and visors are an easy-to-wear option for bearded persons.

Face shields are quite inexpensive and often aid in extending the life of the face mask worn underneath.

When, Where and How to Use Face Shields?

Yes, face shields or visors do offer maximum protection against Covid-19, but do you really need to wear it whenever you’re outside?

Well, wearing a face shield isn’t quite necessary in certain conditions, such as if you’re going grocery shopping, or just taking your dog to the vet.

However, if you’re a medical professional who’s treating Covid-19 patients every day, or someone taking care of an infected individual, wearing a face shield can help keep you safe and protected against the airborne droplets.

The procedure of wearing a face shield isn’t complex at all since they often come with a zip-tie mechanism and do not require any previous fit testing.

Apart from this, when wearing a face shield, don’t forget to pair it up with a face mask for maximum protection.

Lastly, do not put your guard down even when you’re wearing a face shield. Try to maintain social distancing, wash you hands often, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to get rid of the germs on your hands, and avoid touching your face as much as you can.

Stay safe!

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Article Posted: 08/07/2020 12:37:53

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