The UK government has made it mandatory for face coverings to be worn inside in public places, such as shops, salons, entertainment venues, visitor attractions, transportation hubs and on public transport. Failure to comply with these laws could land you with a fine, which will double for repeat offenders up to a maximum value of £3,200.
Whether you like it or not, face coverings will not be going away anytime soon, due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19. You may have noticed in shops or other public settings that some people have opted for face shields instead of face masks – but do face shields protect against Covid-19 as well as masks do? Read on to find out!
What is a face shield?
Face shields are a clear, plastic face covering attached to a headband, typically deployed in health-care settings. To provide maximum protection, they are designed to cover the full face (from the top of the head to the chin and covering the ears horizontally) and protect the wearer from viral spray particles.
Many comment that face shields are easier and more comfortable to wear than masks. They can also potentially be reused indefinitely, provided they are correctly cleaned after each use.
Face shields have been used in healthcare settings for a while now, but they’ve become common among medical personnel who have to intubate patients with Covid-19.
Are face shields effective against Covid-19?
Face shields are encouraged in private sector settings such as retail, leisure, and hospitality due to their effectiveness in preventing the spread of Covid-19. They provide a high level of protection for the wearer. Given they cover the whole face – the mouth, nose and eyes – a high percentage of viral particles are prevented from reaching the wearer.
In addition, a person wearing a face shield is less likely to touch their face, which as we already know is recommended to reduce the risk of infection. From a social perspective, some also prefer face shields as they allow the wearers face to be seen (if they aren’t wearing a mask as well), and don’t muffle your speech in the same way masks do.
For this reason, they can be very effective for teachers, enabling them to communicate with their class, while still offering protection against Covid-19.
Experts have also suggested that face shields are more likely to be worn properly than face masks, and more likely to be worn for longer periods of time.
However, as they’re not airtight, aerosols may still enter and exit around the outside of a face shield, where it’s not fitted tight in the same way a mask is. Evidence is still being gathered about the role of the airborne transmission of Covid-19, which the World Health Organisation is keeping a close eye on.
For absolute maximum protection for the wearer and those around them, a combination of a face mask and a face shield is recommended. The main purpose of face shields is to protect the wearer. They are particularly useful in situations where a person is likely to have a lot of contact with the public, such as teachers, retail workers, hospitality workers, cleaners, and more.
How to keep your face shield clean
Whereas masks absorb droplets when we sneeze or cough, face shields do not. This means that if you do decide to wear a face shield instead of a mask, you should sanitise it regularly.
You should clean your face shield whenever you take it off, with an antibacterial wipe, alcohol pad or soap and water. This is especially important because the shields are plastic, which is a material that coronavirus particularly likes to live on.
If your face shield cracks or becomes damaged, it will no longer be effective so do not continue to use it. We supply tested and certified packs of face shields, which you can purchase in bulk if you desire. This makes it easier for you to ditch the damaged face shield and move on to the next one.