Coronavirus Information Center

As we know, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks to protect against COVID-19 and other airborne particles and droplets. But what about face shields? Are they better or worse for protection? Can they replace a mask?

According to Rolling Stone, the short answer is no. The outlet states that, according to the CDC,  “A face shield should be used in addition to a face mask, and not in place of one. The reason: a face shield is primarily used for eye protection, hence the use of face shields in manufacturing and construction facilities.”

“When worn on its own, a face shield doesn’t form enough of a seal around your nose and mouth to truly block out harmful particles. While plastic shields are a great barrier for splashes and sprays, wearing one alone does not provide adequate protection of your airway.”

The CDC has also previously stated, “It is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control.”

But just because face shields can’t replace masks, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t benefits to using them. Guards are great for a few reasons:

Face shields provide an additional layer of protection.

Face shields are easier to clean and sanitize.

Face shields are an excellent option for the deaf or hard of hearing because the see-through design makes lip reading and communication easier.

Lastly, shields can extend the life of reusable face masks when you use them together.

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