OKEKUNKE SUNDAY, IBADAN
Face shields are generally used in health care settings by medical professionals to provide barrier protection to the facial area, including the eyes, nose and lips.
Face shields are widely used by Nigerians as protection against the global pandemic.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control warns that there is no published studies that could confirm that using face shield could prevent the wearers from contracting COVID-19 infection.
In one of its Press releases warning Nigerians about the safety measures to adopt, NCDC noted that, “An increasing number of people in Nigeria are now using face shields, in the place of face masks, as they become more widely available.
NCDC said it was important to remember that currently, no single intervention even when properly used, provides complete protection from COVID-19 injection.
Face masks are very important in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, especially in situations where physical distancing may be difficult, such as on public transportation, markets and in areas where there is a significant amount of community transmission.
For effective protection, face shields are used in combination with an appropriate face mask in healthcare settings.
There is currently limited to no evidence on the effectiveness of face shields to prevent COVID-19 when used alone by the general public in non-healthcare settings.
Even in healthcare settings, face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection to prevent infection.
Face shields are used in combination with surgical mask or N95 mask by health workers for maximum protection during invasive procedures such as intubation.
There are no published studies on the effectiveness of face shields against COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings.
The NCDC thereafter offered the following guidance to Nigerians on the appropriate use of face masks and face shields:
Therefore, the use of face masks or face shields with face masks should be combined with other public health and social measures as announced by the Federal/State Ministries of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
This includes maintaining a distance of two metres between you and the next person, frequent hand-washing with soap and running water or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoiding public gatherings.
It added that, given the limited evidence on the effectiveness of face shields in protecting people from COVID-19 infection in community settings, and the absence of recommendations on their use by the WHO and other public health authorities, face shields alone should not be used in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 infection.
When used, it should be done in combination with an appropriate face mask.