Starting Aug. 15 people going outside their homes are required to wear face shields when riding public transport and in the workplace, among new measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines. Care should be taken when chosing face shields to ensure maximum protection, said infectious disease expert Nina Gloriani.
Face shields serve as cover for the eyes. The virus spreads through droplets from the nose and mouth so if someone sneezes near you, and your eyes are uncovered, the pathogen could enter through the eyes. Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello raised this argument when he required face shields in the workplace.
Face shields should be worn with face masks, Gloriani told reportr. Face masks provide up to 95% coverage and could go up to 99% with face shields, said the former dean of the UP College of Public Health. This is because there are now two barriers covering the face.
"Talagang ang gusto mong takpan ay ang bibig, ilong at mata (You really want to cover the mouth, nose and eyes)," she said.
Face shields should cover up to the chin. The coverage should extend to the entire face, Gloriani said. Face shields that extend to the nose area don't provide additional protection to the mouth area. This is important as some face masks may not be thick enough or expose "pores" when they stretch.
Face shields should fight tight on the forehead. "Dapat dikit sa noo (It should stick to the forehead)," said Gloriani. This follows the principle of sealing off the eye area.
Face shields should not be touched on the outside. The outer part of the face shield should be considered as a catcher for the virus so don't touch it, Gloriani said.
Face shields should be cleaned. They should be washed with soap and water, the same ones you use on your hands will do, she said. Alcohol and bleach will clean the shield but will also corrode it. People who wear eyeglasses know this.