Level Up Your Protection With A Face Shield
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the globe, more than half of countries tackling the pandemic have been imposing the mandatory use of face coverings in public. When it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks are essential. Better yet, many retailers have also begun to recognize face shields as the next bestseller on the worldwide PPE market. For extra protection, adding a face shield to your daily routine may also be a terrific idea. But do you need a face shield? Are they more effective in comparison to face masks, and how should they be used? To answer these questions, the following is the guide to four different types of quality face shields.
What Is a Face Shield?
Face shields typically are composed of a transparent screen (or visor) and an adjustable head strap. The screen curves around the face, and it helps prevent infectious droplets from entering the eyes, nose, and mouth and extend to below the chin. Different from face masks, face shields are often see-through and cover the entire face.
Different Types of Face Shields
Their unique functions and features include the following:
- Anti-static treatment
- Optically clear
Four Types of Face Shields:
|Product Name||Face Shield||Reusable Face Shield||Face Shield with Goggles||Eye Visor Shield|
|Features||A soft breathable sponge headband, which makes it more comfortable to wear.
|Elastic and adjustable strap to fit all sizes||The raised nasal attachment gives ample space between the nose and face, allowing for comfortable wear.||
Now that you’ve learned the differences between different types of face shields, what should you consider when choosing the right face shield? There are 3 things you should know: the structures and materials used when manufacturing the face shield, and the regulations and standards the face shield have passed.
Face Shield Structures
There are two methods are used to manufacture face shields:
- Injection molding
Generally speaking, face shields cut from extrusion sheets provide better impact resistance than injection-molded face shields.
Face Shield Materials
There are two crucial materials for medical face shields.
When it comes to selecting face shields, we consider lens plates as our top priority. The quality of the lens plate ultimately reflects the clarity and impact resistance of the face shield. Cheaper materials with poor clarity often result in dizziness and fatigue after prolonged use.
Here are some common materials for face shields:
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Glycol Modified Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETG)
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Regulation and Standards of Face Shields
ANSI (American Standard)
- Mark Z87: Basic impact: Face shields shall be capable of resisting impact from a 25.4 mm (1 in) diameter steel ball dropped from a height of 127 cm (50 in).
- Mark Z87+: High impact: Face shields shall be capable of resisting impact from a 6.35 mm (0.25 in) diameter steel ball traveling at a velocity of 91.4 m/s (300)
EN 166 (European Standard)
These shields are for protection against high-speed particles. They must withstand the impact of a 6 mm nominal diameter steel ball, striking the oculars and the lateral protection at speed stated.
- Mark A: 190 m/s.
- Mark B: 120 m/s.
- Mark F: 45 m/s.
CSA (Canadian Standard)
Z94.3-15 Eye and Face Protectors Class 6 relates to face shields and is divided into three sub-classes
- 6A – Impact, piercing, splash, head, and glare protection.
- 6B – Radiation protection. Also for low heat, splash, glare, and light non-piercing impact protection.
- 6C – High-heat applications and light non-piercing impact protection only.
Ref. CSA Z94.3-15
How Effective Are Face Shields?
A 2014 study showed that when tested against an influenza-infused aerosol from a distance of 18 inches away, a face shield reduced exposure by 96% during the period immediately after a cough. The face shield also reduced the surface contamination of a respirator by 97%.
Can Face Shield and Face Mask Be Worn Separately?
They can be worn separately or face shields with face masks but are the most effective when worn in conjunction with face masks, blocking splashes and sprays from reaching the face and preventing people from touching their faces. However, due to the design feature of face shields, they may allow respiratory droplets to enter or exit through the open gaps below and alongside the face.
Is Face Shield Good for Daily Use?
CDC does not recommend wearing a face shield for normal daily activities. You may choose to use a face shield when you know that you will be in sustained close contact with others. In these cases, you should wear a face mask underneath the face shield and maintain social distancing when possible. As it will help minimize the risk of infection since face shields have openings at the bottom.
In certain situations where a face mask is not practical (e.g., children with special needs, specific health issues), visors can be used as an alternative to face masks. CDC also says if face shields are used without wearing a mask, they should be wrapped around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin.
Since we do not yet have evidence that face shields are as effective as source control or protection from respiratory droplets as face masks, we recommend that face masks should be used in preference to shield (or in conjunction with them), while the use of face shields alone is discouraged.
How to Clean a Face Shield?
We know this SARS-CoV-2 likes to live on plastic a lot better than on porous materials like cloth, paper, or cardboard. If you decide to wear a face shield, you will need to sanitize it frequently.
Reusable Face Shield
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, or the CDC face shield cleaning instructions to clean and disinfect with the following items:
- Alcohol wipes or disinfectant wipes
- Disinfectant spray
- Germicidal wipes
- Soap and water
The face shield should be left to dry before subsequent use.
Disposable Face Shields
If you use a disposable face shield, you can either wear it once or reuse it as long as it keeps its shape and remains intact. However, if your face shield cracks or becomes damaged, please replace it with a new one.
Remember to wash your hands after removing the face shield. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing it.
The advantage of face shields is their durability, allowing them to be worn an indefinite number of times, the ability to clean and disinfect quickly after use, their comfort, and may also prevent the wearer from touching their face. You want to be able to see clearly through the shield. Clarity is one of the most critical aspects. When purchasing a face shield, you must pay attention to whether the structures, materials, and standards are suitable for your setting. You can also ask the manufacturer to provide relevant information.
- Other Types of Face Protection. (2021, April 19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Horvath, H. (2020, July 25). Should you buy a face shield? Here’s what the experts say. NEWS.
- Efficacy of Face Shields Against Cough Aerosol Droplets from a Cough Simulator. (2014, June 27). Taylor & Francis Group.
- Mertes, M. A. B. A. (2021, July 20). What Are the Different Types of Face Shields? Quality Logo Products, Inc.
- F. (2020, September 24). Will a Face Shield Protect You From the Coronavirus? Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.