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Joshua James
Joshua James

Study: Face Shields Not A Good Mask Substitute


In the context of COVID-19, some children may not be able to wear a mask due to disabilities or specific situations such as speech classes where the teacher needs to see their mouths. In these cases, face shields may be considered an alternative to masks, but they do not provide the equivalent protection in keeping the virus from being transmitted to others.




Study: Face Shields Not a Good Mask Substitute



As COVID-19 is infectious, it is critical to curbing the spread to protect the healthcare system from overload, so-called flattening the curve. It has been found that asymptomatic infected people and pre-symptomatic infected people could be potentially infectious sources (CDC, 2020a; National Health Commission and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2020). On the other hand, it is equally important for the general public to wear masks or equivalent face coverings to slow down the spread of the virus (CDC, 2020c, National Health Commission, 2020). As many states are re-starting and social activities are recovering in the United States, many governors across the country issued orders requiring face coverings when social distancing is unable to maintain (Littler Mendelson, 2020). WHO updated its advice on the masks use on June 5, which encourages the general public masking when physical distancing cannot be maintained (WHO, 2020a).


Whereas, considering the current desperately shortage of commercially available masks and respirators, the use of common materials to substitute masks for the general public is the only option, such as scarves and bandanas. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the tutorial for homemade masks (CDC, 2020c). It has been studied that homemade masks could not only protect the others from the wearer by reducing the amount of the respiratory droplets exhaled from the wearer but also offer protection to the wearer from inhaling virus attached particles (Cooper et al., 1983; van der Sande et al., 2008; Rengasamy et al., 2010; Davies et al., 2013; MacIntyre et al., 2015; Anfinrud et al., 2020; Bae et al., 2020; Howard et al., 2020; Konda et al., 2020; Leung et al., 2020a; Mueller et al., 2020; Prather et al., 2020; Zhao et al., 2020). However, common fabrics, such as T-shirts, cotton cloth, were the most often used materials, which is not as good as commercial masks (CDC, 2020b) How the general public could make good use of common materials to improve their homemade masks? In this article, we tested several common materials besides common fabrics to help the general public to protect themselves and people they interact with. It is worth noting that conclusions drawn from this study can offer guidance for the general public under the current pandemic. They can also be generalized to do-it-yourself (DIY) air pollution protection gears when commercial respiratory protection equipment is not available.


Some of the recommended materials can be cut and sewn to a mask, such as T-shirts, bedsheets. However, some material is hard to be processed in the same way, such as furnace filters, Swiffer Sweeper. A combination of a cloth mask and a filter material insert is therefore recommended. A cloth mask could be made following various instructions online (CDC, 2020b). The face-covering part can be made into a double-layer design with a slit on the inner side, where a filter material can be cut and inserted to boost the filtration efficiency. This makes the use of those difficult-to-sew materials, such as furnace filters, possible and it can also reduce the material consumption by using small pieces only covering the size of the insert pocket.


Since the limited supply of N95 masks has made it difficult for non-essential workers to obtain medical-grade face coverings, the majority of the public have turned to cloth face masks, which are frequently made at home.


Many, including Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA infectious disease expert, now think that face shields are more effective than masks when it comes to protecting the person wearing the PPE from viral infection.


Coronavirus can be transmitted through the eyes if, for example, an infected individual coughs near someone, or a person who comes into contact with the virus rubs their eyes. Face shields prevent infected droplets from reaching the eyes, which is why health care professionals treating coronavirus generally cover their eyes with either a face shield or goggles.


Some experts worry that cloth face masks are not washed as frequently as they should be, and when they are, the cloth can deteriorate to allow more particles through the covering. Because cloth masks degrade over time, they are not designed to last for an extended period.


Face shields, on the other hand, are made of durable plastic that can better withstand the test of time. Many face shields are also reusable, and can easily be washed with soap and water or a non-abrasive disinfectant between uses.


In an interview with the L.A. Times, Dr. Cherry stresses that one of the biggest issues with cloth face coverings is that they can be itchy and uncomfortable, which can cause people to touch their face more in order to adjust the mask.


The problem, of course, is that people can easily infect themselves if their hands have come into contact with the coronavirus and they touch their nose, eyes or mouth. Likewise, if someone wearing a mask who is infected touches their face, they risk spreading their own infected secretions to others when they touch various surfaces.


Dr. Edmond and his colleagues believe that if everyone wears a face shield, the transmission of the virus would go down, which could help speed up the re-opening of society. Of course, the availability of face shields (like other PPE) remains a challenge, and the priority should go to healthcare professionals and other essential workers who are on the front lines.


Whether or not the general public widely adopts face shields remains to be seen. In the meantime, Jackson Medical is proud to offer standalone, single-use medical face shields for hospital workers, dental and medical offices, and others with a pressing need for personal protective equipment.


This page provides information on face masks, barrier face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators (filtering facepiece respirators, such as N95 respirators) intended for a medical purpose to assist in preventing the spread of infectious materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The information provided may be useful to manufacturers and importers of face masks, barrier face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators, as well as health care facilities and health care personnel.


To help expand the availability of face masks, barrier face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators, the FDA is providing certain regulatory flexibility for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, as described in the Enforcement Policy for Face Shields, Surgical Masks, and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency and Enforcement Policy for Face Masks and Barrier Face Coverings During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, and has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for face masks, surgical masks, and respirators that meet certain criteria. The FDA regularly updates its communications about face masks, surgical masks, and respirators, including the answers to frequently asked questions on this page.


A: The FDA regulates face masks, including cloth face coverings, barrier face coverings, and surgical masks as medical devices when they are intended for a medical purpose. Medical purposes include uses related to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face masks intended for use by the general public for non-medical purposes, such as for use in construction and other industrial applications, are not medical devices.


A: Face masks and barrier face coverings should generally be used for source control, meaning they may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. These products may also help limit exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles but are not a substitute for filtering facepiece respirators or surgical masks. Please refer to CDC's webpage for recommendations regarding use and care of masks.


A: If worn properly, face masks, barrier face coverings, surgical masks, or respirators may reduce the chance of spreading a COVID-19 infection between you and those around you. The CDC provides information on How to Protect Yourself and Others, and Staying Up to Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines.


A: Source control refers to a person's use of barrier face coverings or face masks, including cloth face coverings, to cover the person's mouth and nose when they are talking, sneezing, or coughing to reduce the likelihood of transmission of infection by preventing the spread of respiratory secretions and large particles. COVID-19 may be spread by individuals who may or may not have symptoms of COVID-19.The general public's use of cloth face coverings made from common, easily accessible materials, are an additional public health approach to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC has information on Types of Masks and Respirators for the general public.


Barrier face coverings and face masks, including cloth face coverings, intended for a medical purpose, such as prevention of infectious disease transmission, are subject to FDA regulation. The FDA has issued a policy of regulatory flexibility for such products, as well as an emergency use authorization (EUA) for face masks. For more information, see "I'm interested in manufacturing face masks or surgical masks for the COVID-19 pandemic. What do I need to do?"


A: The FDA realizes that stakeholders such as health care facilities and states may continue to have a supply of non-NIOSH-approved FFRs that were authorized prior to FDA's July 6, 2021 revocation of both EUAs concerning non-NIOSH-approved FFRs. The Enforcement Policy for Face Shields, Surgical Masks, and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency explains that the FDA generally does not intend to object, for the duration of the public health emergency, to the further distribution and use of existing stockpiles of non-NIOSH-approved disposable FFRs for use as face masks for source control by the general public and HCP without compliance with certain regulatory requirements, where such use does not create an undue risk in light of the public health emergency. More information is included in the guidance. 041b061a72