Facial Protective Mask: element of personal protective equipment for professional and daily use
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a shortage of protective equipment both among healthcare personnel and throughout the global community. Their great demand is due to the fact that they fulfill a fundamental prevention role. The main purpose of wearing such personal protective equipment is to reduce the transmission of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes by providing a physical barrier between the wearer and the potentially infectious person. Depending on the degree of exposure, the equipment may include various elements such as: gloves and facial protection elements: faceshield masks, goggles, chinstraps, etc., the latter being the most popular and accessible.
To meet the huge global demand, a face shield (also called face shield, protective mask, face covering, health barrier, faceshield, etc.) has been designed, which can be manufactured in a relatively short time using 3D printing, injection, die cutting , laser cutting, among others. It is a solution for anyone who wants to increase their protection while interacting with other people and can be used by staff in hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, security forces and police, factories and workshops as well as by individual users in everyday life. It is an element recommended by the World Health Organization and in many countries its use outdoors is mandatory and it may be a matter of time before this rule is applied throughout the world.
Does covering the face guarantee total protection against COVID-19?
Scientific studies show that a large part of people with coronavirus have no symptoms and even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing any signs. In other words, that means the virus can spread between people who interact at a close distance, for example by talking, coughing, or sneezing, even if those people don’t have symptoms.
Expert opinion, custom, practice and different research on the SARS epidemic indicate that face masks, as an additional physical barrier, were the most effective intervention to reduce the spread of the virus. They protect healthcare personnel from direct contact with virus particles spread by coughing or sneezing. Therefore, everyone who has direct contact with the sick is recommended to use them.
The shortage of this equipment could make it difficult to flatten the curve of new cases if medical personnel become infected. This is why protectors that are already available on the market should be prioritized for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers.
On the other hand, face shields as personal protective equipment devices are recommended not only for healthcare workers, dentists/odontologists, and veterinarians, but also for police, firefighters, industrial workers, commercial employees, and individuals. individuals in everyday life. In short, in times of pandemic, they can be used by anyone to protect the facial area (especially the eyes, nose and mouth) to prevent exposure and transmission of the virus.
What to consider when choosing to buy a face shield mask?
Features of face shields:
Components include: visor, clear screen, and a suspension system. The viscera are generally made of light plastic and the screens of a transparent material such as acetate or polyethylene. There are a variety of designs on the market, including adjustable and non-adjustable models that fully or partially surround the face. Some models incorporate a brow cap that provides additional splash protection to the forehead region, as well as allowing a greater distance of the visor from the face that is better suited to the use of additional equipment such as goggles. As for the screens, several manufacturers offer removable and easily interchangeable screens. There are those who place elements of soft material, eg. a sponge, which while providing additional comfort on the forehead, on the other hand makes complete disinfection of the mask impossible.
Unlike face masks, face masks provide more comfort, make breathing easier, and allow for better communication and speech.
Other advantages include:
- They protect a larger portion of the face, fully cover the sides and length of the face
- Less retained dermal facial heat, therefore less irritation
- Less fogging than glasses
- less claustrophobic
- No fit testing required
- Easy to disinfect (if they do not have textile elements or parts)
- Users do not need to be shaved
- Easy to put on and take off
- relatively cheap
- Can be used with other eye/face protection
- They do not impede non-verbal facial communication
- Protects against autoinoculation (touching the face) over a wider facial area
- Extends the life of a mask when used simultaneously
- Provides good visibility
- Reusable (made of material that can be cleaned and disinfected) or disposable
How to disinfect the protective face mask?
For the effective operation of face shields, they must be changed or sterilized after each contact with a new patient or after the workday. In case of daily or commercial use, the masks must be carefully disinfected (alcohol diluted to 70% is recommended) or simply soap and water.
What to consider when choosing a face shield?
It is important that the mask does not have porosities since they are the places where bacteria, viruses and other microbes accumulate, which is why the products manufactured with the injection method are a better health barrier than those manufactured with the 3D method.
It is convenient that the transparent screen is interchangeable, since on the one hand changing it when necessary ensures the best protection against microbes and on the other hand it reduces the cost of buying a new mask.
Screen material: there are several materials within which PET (polypropylene) ensures greater resistance, durability and clarity of sight compared to eg. Acetate.
The elastic band to adjust the contour of the head can be a textile element or rubber/rubber, the latter can be disinfected, while the use of textile elements can even increase the risk of transporting microbes.
In summary, it is essential to highlight that social distancing and frequent hand washing remain the most important to stop the spread of the virus. Protective face masks increase protection and can prevent asymptomatic people from unknowingly continuing to infect when working, shopping, or traveling on public transportation.
Those of us who work with machines and tools know the importance of taking care of ourselves, of using personal protection elements. As we say at DeMaquinasyTools.com “Safety is always first!”.