Lowcountry doctor says face shields by themselves are, ‘not a good idea’

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The fate of how students will enter back into classrooms across South Carolina has brought another discussion within Accelerate ED. This time, the conversation is if teachers should wear face masks or face shields. One of the arguments for wearing a face shield would be to better allow those in English as a Second Language Programs (ESL) and hard of hearing students the advantage of reading lips.

Healthcare professionals told News 2 the idea of wearing just a face shield as a preventative measure against contracting and spreading COVID-19 is not a viable option.

Dr. Robert Oliverio, the Chief Medical Officer with Roper St. Francis, said a face shield is intended to keep an N-95 mask clean and your eyes protected. He went on that say that is the main reason that you see face shields used in a hospital setting. Dr. Oliverio added that the use of face shields without a mask in terms of keeping away infection is “not a good idea, it doesn’t work”. 

What you’re trying to do with a mask is trying to decrease the amount of virus you put out if you’re infected and don’t know it, and you’re trying to decrease the amount of virus you take in if someone’s around you, infected and don’t know it. The problem with a face shield is it doesn’t really restrict the airflow. Respiratory droplets can move around in the air 6 feet away from where that person is so it can easily get around your face shield. 

DR. ROBERT OLIVERIO, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER – AMBULATORY CARE & POPULATION HEALTH 

As for what he believes schools should do? Dr. Oliverio said that it’s going to be a challenge to figure out what is the best practice, but if you want to be safe, it’s distance, masking, and if neither are an option—staying online.

If you do choose to wear a face shield with a face mask underneath, be sure that you’re also cleaning that face shield. Dr. Oliverio suggested that you use an alcohol or a bleach-based solution to do so, as well as washing your hands thoroughly after cleaning.

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