Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to make face masks one of its primary recommendations for preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — some people are turning to plastic face shields for protection as they can be more comfortable.
However, medical experts say a plastic face shield does not provide adequate protection from COVID-19 when used by itself.
Instead, experts recommend plastic face shields only be used as a supplement to cloth face coverings, not in lieu of them
Getting the most benefit from a face shield
1. Always wear a face shield with a mask
Henningsen explained that face shields give the most benefit when you wear them along with a face mask.
“Cloth face coverings protect others,” she said. “The altruism you show by wearing one is a kindness to others, and that kindness is returned when someone wears their mask for you. That’s when the real magic happens, when both parties are wearing them. My mask protects you; your mask protects me.”
“Adding a face shield is the icing on the cake and confers protection to you, the wearer,” she added.
2. Make sure your face shield fits properly
“The shield should come to the level of the chin or below in the front,” said Edmond.
He said that it should almost reach the ears on the sides and “there should be no gap between the forehead and the front of the shield unless there is a cover over the gap. Otherwise a droplet could come through the gap and land on your face.”
3. Clean and disinfect your face shield after each use
The CDCTrusted Source suggests referring to the manufacturer’s instructions, if available.
If there are no instructions available, they suggest cleaning with a neutral detergent and warm water to remove any visible soiling, followed by a clean water rinse.
They then recommend disinfecting the face shield, preferably with a chlorine-based solution. Alcohol can damage plastic and glues over time. In addition, it may remove any antiglare or antifogging properties.
Rinse again with clean water to remove any residue.
Air dry or use clean paper towels to remove any moisture.