For all the latest news about the coronavirus, click here.

As per government regulations for level 4 lockdown, South Africans are now required to wear masks in public…

Many, however, prefer the clear, plastic face shields, also used by many workers in the field of healthcare. Which is more effective? Should we be wearing cloth masks or plastic face shields?

Dr Angelique Coetzee, the chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) says she would recommend a face shield that fits properly, as the virus would have trouble moving into the mask from below. She emphasises, though, that no mask or shield will protect you 100% against contracting Covid-19.

“A mask or shield simply ensures that your chances of being infected are less. Wearing a plastic shield in front of your face, should it fit well and be worn correctly, would also make it very difficult for the wearer to touch his or her face,” she said.

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Iowa experts led by Dr Eli Perencevich of the university’s department of internal medicine, also advocate the use of shields. The use of cloth masks provides some filtration of virus-sized aerosol particles, but Perencevich said face shields may provide a better option.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

How should a face shield fit?

To be most effective in curbing viral spread, a face shield should extend to below the chin, cover the ears and there should be no gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece, the Iowa team members said, adding that shields have a number of advantages over masks.

Shields can be reused by simply cleaning them with soap and water or common disinfectant. The team also notes that shields are usually more comfortable to wear than masks and form a barrier that keeps people from easily touching their own faces

According to the Iowa team, large-scale studies haven’t yet been conducted, but in a simulation study, face shields were shown to reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by a simulated healthcare worker within 18 inches of a cough, and when the study was repeated at a physical distance of 1.8m, face shields reduced the inhaled virus by 92%.

Infection control should be multi-faceted

Perencevich acknowledged that no studies have yet been conducted to see how well face shields help keep exhaled or coughed virus particles from spreading from an infected wearer, but they stressed that face shields should only make up one part of any infection control effort, along with physical distancing and hand-washing. There would never be any intervention, even a vaccine, that can guarantee 100% effectiveness against the coronavirus, so face shields shouldn’t be held to that standard.

The purpose of masks or shields is to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19 by preventing respiratory droplets which come from the nose and mouth from landing on an individual’s face where they can be breathed in. The virus spreads through the respiratory droplets when infected people cough, speak and sneeze.

Masks or shields should not be shared with anybody else, and it is preferable if every person has more than one so they can be interchanged during washes. Never handle the inside layer of the mask or shield when taking it off or putting it on.

Originally appeared on Review Online

 


For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Nelie Erasmus – Citizen

The post Cloth mask or face shield? Expert weighs in appeared first on Citizen.

Accommodation offers from

20,000 listings in 2,000 locations with 10,000 reviews.

18% DISCOUNT – From R1222 p/night

Hudsons on Twelfth

Rivonia, Gauteng

Valid until April 30 2020

66% DISCOUNT – From R1440 R518 p/night

Silver Forest Boutique Lodge and Spa

Helderberg, Somerset West

For stays between 1 Jul & 30 Sep 2020

35% DISCOUNT – From R1524 p/night

The Atrium 30

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Valid until April 30 2020

 

***
CLICK HERE FOR THE COVID-19 CORONA VIRUS SOUTH AFRICAN RESOURCE PORTAL
***

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.