Do you live in an area where masks are mandatory? If so, you might be wondering what all your options are before you venture outside your house and get back into the rhythm of shopping, dining and socializing.
Due to a shortage in medical-grade masks and respirators like the N95, most people are resorting to wearing cloth masks — including simple masks made from materials at home. Tap or click here to see how you can make your own mask.
But Amazon has bigger plans for healthcare workers and those of us wanting an alternative to masks that just cover the nose and mouth. The company has announced it will be selling multipacks of clear plastic face shields, which protect the face from respiratory droplets while freeing the mouth and nose. Here’s when you can expect to see them.
Face shields: Would you wear this in public?
Not everyone is a fan of masks, but face shields offer an interesting alternative. Rather than fasten around the ears while covering the nose and mouth, face shields clip around the top of your head like a hat while blocking your face with a clear sheet of plastic.
The result is a thin, lightweight piece of gear that’s more similar to a helmet than a mask. But for many, face shields are popular because it leaves the face visible and makes breathing easier for sensitive people. Plus, due to its design, it’s possible to drink through a long straw while wearing one.
These critical pieces of protective equipment have been in short supply for front-line healthcare workers since the early part of the year. But thanks to a new initiative from Amazon, a massive amount of these shields are being produced for healthcare workers to take advantage of.
And it’s not just healthcare workers, either. Starting August 9, you’ll be able to order your own face shield directly from Amazon. Pre-orders are currently being accepted, and the estimated ship date for Prime members at the time of publication is August 11.
The face shields are sold in bundles of 25. Unlike previous shields in stock on Amazon, these masks were 3D-printed and made in conjunction with Amazon Prime Air drone engineers. Tap or click here to see a sneak peek at Amazon’s upcoming drone delivery system.
But that’s not all. Amazon also says the designs are updated from traditional face shields based on feedback from front-line healthcare workers. They feature softer edges that won’t snag on clothing or hair and include a comfortable, adjustable headband that keeps them in place.
Should I use a face shield or a face mask? Which is better?
Right now, these face shields are only available to healthcare workers ordering directly. Once the product becomes available to the public, you’ll be able to get your hands on a face shield relatively easily. But whether face masks or face shields are better depends on your personal preference.
Face shields, for example, do protect you from aerosol droplets and occasional exposure. They cover the eyes in addition to the mouth and nose and can reduce viral transmission by up to 96% according to a 2014 study. If you are infected, however, particles can still easily escape into the air due to the gap below the face shield.
Masks, on the other hand, offer protection for others rather than yourself. It helps to think of masks as a barrier that prevents viral particles that you might not know about from escaping your body. Infected people without symptoms who choose to wear a mask end up becoming “dead-end” hosts that the virus cannot spread beyond.
But some people, such as actual doctors and nurses, choose to wear both at the same time for maximum protection for themselves and others.
There’s also an advantage to wearing masks if you’re concerned with the rise of facial recognition technology. Some privacy-minded folks have even used the pandemic as an opportunity to start wearing face masks full-time so they can’t be spied on by security cameras. Tap or click here to see an app that can identify you with just a photo of your face.
All-in-all, it’s up to you to decide which gear works best for your lifestyle. But at the very least, if you do choose a face shield, you can flash your smile out in public again.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.