Over the past few months, reusable cloth masks have become commonplace as a protective measure against Covid-19 transmission. Now, four months into the pandemic, an increasing number of people are exploring the use of plastic face shields.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not yet recommend using plastic face shields for everyday activities or as a substitute for face masks, some medical experts have begun recommending and actually preferring face shields. A recent medical article suggests that face shields significantly reduce the amount of inhalation exposure of the influenza virus, and that shields should be evaluated for Covid protection in clinical trials. But the authors write that, given how long proper clinical trials would take, face shields should immediately “be included as part of strategies to safely and significantly reduce transmission in the community setting.”
“People who wear masks are often touching their face, but with face shields this is not as much of an issue,” says Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at John Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Face shields are reusable and do not require [machine] washing — they can be more simply cleaned.”
All you have to do is use soap and water, according to Adalja, just the way you clean your hands. Plus, as Adalja points out, shields simply provide more surface area of coverage. In addition to your nose and mouth, he says, “face shields also protect your eyes, which are a route of infection. They are also less stifling to a person in terms of comfort level.”
Another advantage to face shields: Other people can see your mouth, which is critical for lipreading, but also helpful when you just want somebody to know that you’re smiling. While face shields might look startling at first glance, well, one could argue that surgical and cloth face masks did too, just a few months back. If you’re interested in this kind of protective device, keep scrolling for some top-rated facial shields from across the internet.
Proted Face Shields ($15.95; etsy.com)
The shield flips up to make eating, drinking and talking on the phone that much easier.
Proted Reusable Kids’ Face Shield ($15.95; etsy.com)
These popular ones come with cute static cling stickers to decorate and personalize the surface, which can make for a fun craft for your kids.
Omar Face Shields, Pack Of 12 ($34.99, originally $38.54; officedepot.com)
With a foam headband and elastic band, these are ultracomfortable and have a large enough shield that you don’t feel like your mouth or the sides of your face are too exposed. And in our experience, they’re also made to fit masks of various sizes — even a larger N95 mask — inside.
Bincaldeas Optically Clear Face-Shield with UV Printed Designs ($15; etsy.com)
These UV-printed shields are sweet for younger kids — and their young-at-heart families.
Gbrandholic Fashionable Top Quality Face Shield (starting at $27.99; etsy.com)
Adorable camo bucket hat plus protective face shield equals a summer win.
Gizda Face Shield Hat ($36; etsy.com)
A detachable shield means you can wear the hat on its own, too.
Printex Designs Face Shield with Visor (starting at $12.50; etsy.com)
These are available in lots of colors, and reviewers note how sturdy and well-made they feel.
ArtToFrames Protective Face Shield ($9.99; amazon.com)
Accompanying frames fit like glasses over the wearer’s nose, and there’s even an option to have lashes or a beard printed on the shield for some extra flair.
Lincoln Electric OmniShield Professional Face Shield ($36.99; amazon.com)
With an anti-fog, anti-scratch, polycarbonate high-density lens, this one is seriously protective — it’s certified for industrial use to protect against things like flying debris and chemical splashes.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.