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Could face shields replace masks in preventing COVID-19?

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(HealthDay)—Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but some people find them awkward, uncomfortable or downright unbearable to wear. There’s another good option available for people who just can’t get used to strapping on a face mask while out in public, experts say.Plastic face shields offer another means of deterring COVID-19 that some might find easier, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore.

They’re clear plastic or plexiglass shields that cover the entire face, from the forehead down to the chin or lower. An elastic headband holds the shield in place. Shields offer a number of benefits over masks, but also a few drawbacks, experts said.

Because they extend down from the forehead, shields protect the eyes as well as the nose and mouth, said Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center. Viruses can enter the body through the eyes.Adalja noted that face shields also can be more comfortable for people to wear. “It feels less obstructive on their mouth and nose than a mask,” he said.

Esper pointed out that “you don’t get to feel the breeze on your face, but you do get some fresh air, rather than trying to breathe through a cloth mask.” Person-to-person communication is better with a face shield. People can see your whole face through the shield, making it easier for folks to talk, Adalja said.

by Dennis Thompson, Healthday Reporter