Are face shields more effective protection against the coronavirus than face masks? AARP asked the experts to explain the pros and cons of each.
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“One of the benefits of face shields is that they protect the entire face, including the eyes, which along with the nose and mouth can be a gateway for the coronavirus and other germs to enter the body. The plastic panel that hangs from the top of the forehead and extends below the chin prevents large respiratory droplets that are thought to carry the virus from reaching these areas of potential infection. Face shields also reduce the likelihood that you’ll introduce virus-packed particles on your own …They keep you from touching “your hands to your eyes and nose and mouth. If you’re wearing one, it’s pretty hard to do that”
“A recent JAMA report found that when community health workers added face shields to other protective equipment (face masks and gloves), COVID-19 infection rates among the workers dropped to zero. Similar findings have been published in The Lancet: Researchers looked at studies evaluating the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions and found that eye protection was associated with a lower risk of virus infection. “Eye protection is typically underconsidered and can be effective in community settings,” the report’s authors write.
“It’s double protection,” Perencevich says about layering a face shield over a cloth face covering. “The face shield will protect the mask from being contaminated and then block additional droplets from your whole face, including your eyes.”
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