2020 has made us think about words and phrases we’ve never thought about before…PPE, coronavirus, respirator, pandemic, shelter-in-place… public health has never been on the tip of so many people’s tongues.
Perhaps one of the biggest buzzwords these days is “face masks,” but let’s not forget about face shields. What do these look like and how should they be used? Consider this your ultimate guide to everything you need to know.
What Are the Different Types of Face Shields?
Face shields are a bit different than masks since they’re often see-through and cover the entire face, not just the nose and mouth. Some people prefer to wear them during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially if they have breathing problems.
The different types of face shields include:
- Headband face shield
- Food-grade plastic shield
- Disposable face shield
- Wide face shield
- Pivot face shield
- Face shield with built-in goggles
Headband Face Shield
The most common type of face shield is one that fits around the forehead. It usually contains some kind of padded strap that makes it comfortable to wear for an extended period of time.
Food Grade Plastic Shield
A food grade shield is designed to cover your entire face. It’s typically certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by chefs, bakers, and anyone else who works with food.
Disposable Face Shield
Some companies are requiring their team to wear a face shield every day. If you only need a temporary solution, however, a disposable face shield could be a good choice. These can be purchased in bulk and thrown away after a single use.
Wide Face Shield
The length of most face shields goes from the forehead down past the chin. You can also find shields that are wider instead, such as the one pictured here.
Pivot Face Shield
Most face shields are adjustable, but this one can pivot on the top. This means you can move it away from your face, which is important come lunch time or if you need to see something a bit more clearly.
Face Shield With Built-in Goggles
Eye protection is very important for certain industries, specifically welders, construction workers, and mechanics. That’s the beauty of a face mask with a pair of built-in glasses. This style may be more comfortable than the shields that fit via headband.
A gaiter is a type of makeshift face shield that’s boomed in popularity during the pandemic. It was previously used as protection against rain or snow, especially for mountaineering or ice climbing.
Like gaiters, bandanas have been used as makeshift shields during the pandemic. They should always cover both your nose and mouth.
When Should Face Shields Be Worn?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that you wear face shields if you are in contact with any chemicals, acid, radiation, dangerous vapors, or flying objects.
Face shields are recommended if you work in any of the following industries:
- Food service
- Spas or salons
- Lab technicians
- Grocery or retail stores
Chefs and anyone else that works with food should wear a food-safe face shield. At the very least, it could stop you from crying when chopping up those onions!
Do you have a reception desk at your dental or doctor’s office? Encourage your team to greet new patients while wearing both a face shield and a face mask. It’s an extra precaution that will be greatly appreciated.
Protect yourself from both germs and flying debris by keeping a shield firmly under your hard hat. This is a good thing to continue practicing even long after the pandemic is behind us.
Spas or Salons
Do you work closely with clients? A face shield can provide an extra barrier between you and them, especially if you’re often in their personal bubble. It might just make everyone feel more comfortable working with you during the pandemic.
There are many scientists and pharmaceutical companies working hard on developing a COVID-19 vaccine. These folks, and many others who work in a lab, are wearing face shields as protection. You will also see healthcare professionals at drive-through testing centers wearing shields, masks, and protective surgical gowns.
The fumes from paint could be difficult to deal with day in and day out. A face shield will cover your nose, which helps you avoid breathing in any toxic chemicals.
Safety should always be #1 at your factory. Require that all your employees wear a protective face shield while they’re on the clock. This is a good way to prevent the spread of germs, especially if you work with packaging. According to Harvard Health, diseases like the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours.
Grocery or Retail Stores
Customers come in and out of your store all day. You can help keep everyone a little safer by encouraging your cashiers to wear a face mask and a shield.
How Do You Clean Plastic Face Shields?
The best way to clean plastic face shields is with antibacterial wipes. Wipe the entire front of the shield from top to bottom with one wipe, and then do the same on the other side. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you’re done cleaning.
Are Face Shields Good?
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that face shields are a good choice because they’re easy to disinfect and can be easier to breathe in all day. Still, most experts believe you shouldn’t treat the shield as a substitute and you should still wear a cotton or cloth face mask underneath.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you cover your nose and mouth while out during the pandemic. The tricky part about face shields is that droplets can easily make it through the sides and bottom. A cloth mask underneath helps prevent this issue.
The important thing is that you’re doing your part during the pandemic. It may be inconvenient and it’s probably not that comfortable, but every little thing we do makes a world of difference.
First and foremost, make sure you have some type of face mask or face shield on every time you’re in public. Research is still being done on the effects and the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), so this small act is one way you can help.
Gillespie, C. (2020, May 28). Is a Face Shield Better Protection Against the Coronavirus Than a Face Mask? Retrieved from, https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/face-shield-coronavirus
Perencevich, E., Diekema, D., Edmond, M. (2020, April 29). Moving Personal Protective Equipment Into the Community. Retrieved from, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765525?guestAccessKey=6af59d69-940c-49d6-8fc3-d790577a6a48
Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, July 10). COVID-19 Basics. Retrieved from, https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-basics