During the COVID-19 pandemic, people and businesses have had to make changes to prevent the spread of the virus. You've probably noticed an uptick in people wearing masks, a piece of safety equipment worn by people in public as recommended by the CDC, but what you might not know is that a mask is just one way to keep yourself protected from the spread of COVID-19. Another tool that serves to protect from contagious pathogens is face shields.
Don't know much about face shields? You aren't alone; until recently, they were predominantly worn by medical professionals and first responders. Things have changed due to the pandemic, and now people who have never used face shields before are wearing them. Let's go over the basics of face shields, and how they can help keep your workplace safe.
Face Shields - The Basics
You might be wondering what exactly a face shield is. Face shields are a form of personal protective equipment (PPE) that gives the wearer protection of the facial area and mucous membranes. The shield covers the face to protect the wearer from droplets from coughs and sneezes. Face shields were predominantly used by medical professionals, dentists, veterinarians, laboratory workers, police, firefighters, and custodial staff. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, many more people are wearing face shields as a preventative measure against COVID-19.
A common misconception is that face shields are worn in place of a face mask. However, face shields are generally worn with other PPE items such as face masks, gloves, and goggles. Wearing face shields in conjunction with other PPE gives the user more protection to other areas the face shield does not cover.
However, there are benefits of wearing a face shield in comparison to other forms of face and eye protection like face masks or goggles. In an article by Raymond J. Roberge for the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Roberge listed the advantages of face shields. For starters, face shields protect a larger portion of the face. Another benefit is that face shields have no impact on breathing resistance, which is a major complaint from people who wear masks. Face shields also do not impede facial expressions. Finally, when worn concurrently, a face shield may extend the life of a face mask.
Over the last few months, there has been a shortage of PPE. Luckily, face shields are reusable with proper sanitization. They are easy to clean and disinfect. From the University of Iowa, these are the steps for cleaning face shields:
- Obtain a clean horizontal surface for disinfecting reusables
- Hand hygiene
- Don gloves
- Carefully wipe the inside, followed by the outside of the face shield using an approved cleaner/disinfectant
- Inspect for damage; if damaged dispose
- Fully air dry
- Clean/disinfect the horizontal surface with approved cleaner/disinfectant
Click here for a list of disinfectants that meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) criteria for use against COVID-19.
As you've seen, face shields have a myriad of benefits. It's no wonder why more and more people are using face shields during this challenging time.
Using Face Shields at your Business
Now that you know all of the basics of face shields, it's time to learn how to use them in your business. Different businesses have different needs, but as a rule of thumb, if you or your employees are exposed to customers within six feet, wearing a face shield is something to consider. COVID-19 is primarily spread within a six feet distance, which is why wearing PPE like a face shield or mask is important.
Before ordering your face shields, you'll need to think of how many you need. If an employee is going to have direct interactions with customers, a face shield is a good idea. Remember, face shields are reusable, so as long as you keep good care of them, you shouldn't have to order too many extras. Proper sanitization is key right now, and it should not be taken lightly.
Another thing to consider is face shield customization. At Plastic Printers, we can put your branding and logo on your face shields. Putting your branding on your face shields isn't necessary, but many businesses like that they help create a professional and cohesive look. Further customization options include different colored bands. Whether you want your face shields customized or not is up to you, but know that it is an option.
During this challenging time, it is essential that people and businesses go out of their way to put safety first. With face shields, you can help keep your workplace protected from COVID-19. Do you have more questions about implementing face shields at your business? Give us a call; we're always happy to help!