Today, there are more ways than ever to protect yourself as you navigate through life during a pandemic. Masks are essential as you reintegrate back into your work environment. Even before the pandemic, masks and other types of PPE (personal protection equipment) have long been part of labor and industry.
Face shields are a necessity for various tasks in the workplace and even at home. There are many great reasons to consider adding a face shield to your toolbox for personal protection. Some of them may seem obvious, while others may surprise you. Let’s dive into the benefits of face shields and why you might want to consider keeping some on hand.
What is a Face Shield?
We’ll start with the basics to ensure that you are covered. Face shields are usually thin plastic covers that sit in front of the face to create a barrier between droplets or debris–droplets such as those generated when coughing, breathing, or sneezing, or debris like dust or dirt. Face shields are a must-have in the medical field, but they can be used in numerous other environments, too.
Face Shields as Part of Medical PPE
For those that are working in the medical field, even before the pandemic, a face shield is a standard part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Mucous membranes line body cavities and organs, including our respiratory tract, and it is these membranes that are most susceptible to viruses, including the novel coronavirus. The surface of our eyes and inner eyelids are also lined with mucous membranes called the conjunctiva. This means, without proper eye protection, if an infected droplet makes its way into the eye of a medical worker without eye protection, there is a much greater risk of contracting any number of viruses, including COVID-19.
Additionally, medical professionals have employed face shields for years before the pandemic to protect their faces and eyes from other dangerous fluids.
Other Face Shield Uses
Surprisingly, many other avenues of employment either suggest or require the use of a face shield as part of their day-to-day practices. Even if your job does not require the shield, it’s recommended to wear one whenever you are doing activities like these:
- Handling liquid chemicals
- Using machinery to cut or grind a material (even at home)
- Using spray paint
- When sanding any material or surface
Benefits of Face Shields
Face shields prevent respiratory droplets, dirt, and dust from landing on the forehead, neck, and eyes. They are also excellent at preventing users from touching their eyes. Keep in mind, when faced with potential situations where you may come in contact with COVID-19, it’s recommended to use both a mask and face shield for the best protection.
- Face shields add a barrier to help prevent you from inhaling a substantial amount of aerosol-size particles.
- Face shields are easy to adequately disinfect.
- For many people, wearing a face shield when doing certain activities is far more comfortable than a face mask. For instance, those who have claustrophobia or have health conditions that affect breathability may find it easier to use a face shield.
- Face shields are a fantastic alternative for those who suffer from overly sensitive skin or have issues with ‘maskne.’ Acne and facial indentations from constant mask-wearing have become an issue for many mask wearers who wear them for extended amounts of time.
- Face shields can even benefit those around you! They allow those with hearing disabilities to continue to interpret lip reading and facial expressions. Vital in places like schools, daycares, or careers where non-verbal means of communication is critical. Face shields offer the only method of PPE that shows the user’s face, lips, and mouth.
No matter what field you work in professionally or what hobby you might enjoy at home, wearing a face shield is an excellent choice for protection against small, infectious particles. In medical settings, note that the benefit is diminished because there are still areas of airflow from the sides and below the chin, reducing community protection. For this reason, we highly suggest pairing face shields with masks still as the best means for protection against the novel coronavirus.
Additionally, we recommend finding and using a face shield with a comfortable foam pad at the forehead to prevent irritation, as well as adjustable Velcro hook and loop fasteners that help the shields fit any user with ease. When looking for the correct face shield for whatever you may encounter, make sure to keep it disinfected and cleaned after each use for optimal personal wellbeing.
When it comes to facing today’s new normal, pair your mask with a face shield and make sure you remember the three W’s that will keep you protected. Wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands. From our Foam family to yours, stay safe and stay healthy!