Can face shields be as effective as face mask in limiting spread?

A new study is bringing alternatives to face masks to light -- but do they provide the same protection?

DETROITA new study is bringing alternatives to face masks to light -- but do they provide the same protection?

Mask use in public places has become required, but many people are still using home-made masks because medical masks remain difficult to find.

Face shields are a more sustainable and socially-friendly option. Medical grade face shields are more heavy duty that those used in public.

There are more benefits to face shields than supply -- while face masks do provide protection against the spread of infection, there are people who cannot tolerate wearing a mask. Face shields are also more durable, can be washed easily, make communication easier and prevent users from touching their faces.

Face shields can be produced easily by DIYers and large manufacturers on retooled assembly lines in a large volume.

Most importantly though, there is evidence face shields are protective. One study found in a simulated situation, face shields reduced viral exposure by 96 percent within 18 inches of a cough -- and at a distance of 6 feet, the amount of fine aerosol inhaled was reduced by 92 percent.

The study did point out that while face shields provide protection for the wearer, there hasn’t been enough study of how well they can contain the virus if the wearer coughs or sneezes.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.