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Coronavirus: Are face shields a good substitute for masks?

(Courtesy tinkerine.com)

A face shield is not a substitute for a mask: Centre for Disease Control

Health-care workers should use a shield in addition to a mask

NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are responding to your questions in a segment we call NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.


Sandie: “Do plastic face shields help reduce the spread of virus droplets? Would this be a good thing to use for indoor winter visiting with family?”


Clear plastic face shields are not generally considered a viable alternative to face masks or respirators.

“A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it,” the U.S. Centre for Disease Control explains.

The agency says it can’t say conclusively whether a face shield prevents someone with COVID-19 from spreading the coronavirus via their respiratory droplets.

The CDC doesn’t recommend face shields as a substitute for masks, but notes masks don’t work for everyone in every situation.

For example, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can’t read the lips of someone wearing a mask.

If you are going to wear a mask, the CDC recommends using one that wraps around your head and extends below your chin or a hooded shield.

“Face shield wearers should wash their hands before and after removing the face shield and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth when removing it,” the CDC says.

The agency also says disposable shields should only be used once and reusable ones should be disinfected after each use.

The B.C. Centres for Disease Control tells health-care workers to wear a face shield when interacting with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients and when taking throat-swab tests.

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