COVID-19 Protection: Face Shields Better Option Than Protective Masks To Ward Off SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Transmissions
: With protective mask shortages on the increase especially since Western countries like America and Europe that once scoffed at the idea of wearing mask and paid a price with the number of deaths and infected, now realizing the costly mistakes and adopting the practice, there are other alternative peripherals that people can also look towards to.
Once such option to prevent transmissions of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease, are the plastic face shields already in use by many health care personnel.
A team of medical experts say face shields might replace masks as a more comfortable and more effective deterrent to COVID-19.The report has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765525
Dr Eli Perencevich who lead the team from the University of Iowa told Thailand Medical News, "Face shields, which can be quickly and affordably produced and distributed, should be included as part of strategies to safely and significantly reduce transmission in the community setting."
Although the US CDC started advocating the use of cloth masks to help stop COVID-19 transmission in April, laboratory testing "suggests that cloth masks provide only some filtration of virus-sized aerosol particles."
The trio of physicians from the University of Iowa department of internal medicine, and the Iowa City VA Health Care System said, "face shields may provide a better option."
In order to be most effective in stopping viral spread, a face shield should extend to below the chin. It should also cover the ears and "there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield's headpiece," the Iowa team members said.
Face shields have a number of advantages over masks, they added. First of all, they are endlessly reusable, simply requiring cleaning with soap and water or common disinfectants. Shields are usually more comfortable to wear than masks, and they form a barrier that keeps individuals from easily touching their own faces.
Also when speaking, people sometimes pull down a mask to make things easier but that isn't necessary with a face shield.
Also the use of a face shield is also a reminder to maintain social distancing, but allows visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception.
In a simulation study, face shields were shown to reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by a simulated health care worker within 18 inches of a cough.
When the study was repeated at the currently recommended physical distancing distance of 6 feet, face shields reduced inhaled virus by 92%.
However no studies have yet been conducted to see how well face shields help keep exhaled or coughed virus from spreading outwards from an infected wearer, Dr Perencevich and his colleagues warned, and they hope that studies on that issue will be conducted.
The researchers stressed that face shields should only be one
part of any infection control effort, along with social distancing and hand-washing.
It should be noted that there will never be any intervention even a vaccine that can guarantee 100% effectiveness against the coronavirus, the medical researchers said, so face shields shouldn't be held to that standard.
One emergency physician in New York City reading over the new report, agreed that "common sense" measures are crucial in curbing infections.
He said, "One approach that makes the most sense, especially in light of the limitations of face masks and face coverings, is the use of face shields. While we don't have hard trials or data on the efficacy of face shields at this time, early data from their use in patients with influenza which is also droplet-spread is promising. What's clear is that their success in hospital settings provides the basis for their utility in the community setting as we relax physical distancing going forward."
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