9 key points to consider when buying face shields
Buying face shields and PPE amidst COVID-19 is a challenging task, as there are many aspects that are important to consider and can be potentially overlooked due to demands and diversity of choice.
In this article we look at key aspects to ensure you make a good choice while putting the safety of your medical staff at the front of mind.
A face shield in certain applications can be required for a four-hour shift or longer, so it is essential that your user finds it comfortable for extended durations. This is a major challenge for shield designers, as they need to consider the many shapes and sizes of the human head to offer both adjustability and comfort.
Knowing that your face shield is TGA approved will give you peace of mind that it meets federal therapeutic goods requirements for safe use in Australia. A face shield under the TGA guidelines is considered to be a visor. A visor is noted to be a transparent personal protective device intended to shield the face and eyes of a healthcare worker from unnecessary exposure from blood and other body fluid splashes while performing a clinical or laboratory procedure. Visors are suitable for use with prescription lenses and protective masks.
Make sure the shields you purchase are latex-free. Natural rubber latex allergy is a serious medical concern in health care today. Latex-sensitive patients and healthcare workers face a serious risk from any product containing latex, with exposure to latex-positive shields a particular concern. To date, there is no known cure for latex allergy except eliminating exposure to latex products. Note that some elastic straps contain latex or similar components and should be treated with caution.
High optical clarity is an important factor when choosing a face shield. It is important the material has very high transparency and minimal distortion. Viewing through a clearer, better-quality lens allows your eyes to work longer with less fatigue and less overall strain on your body. PETG is an abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate (with a glycol modification), which is one of the more common polymers used today that offers great clarity.
It is a good idea to ensure your shield has good face coverage. This means that you would expect the base of the shield to exceed the chin of a larger face, the top of the shield to exceed the eyebrows and the sides of the shields to go around and almost to the ears for optimal protection. Avoid smaller masks as they can be used to reduce cost at the expense of user safety.
Working distance is the distance between your mouth and the inside of the shield. This is an important detail that can often be overlooked due to the depth of the N95 masks. It is a good idea to try a shield on with your larger masks, such as an N95, as they are often used together. If working distance is too small, your shield can press the mask to the face, increasing friction and discomfort.
Re-usable or disposable?
A disposable face shield is single-use only and will likely have foam attached to the visor, making it porous and uncleanable. Single-use shields are normally light duty and can be wasteful when raw material is in high demand. Re-usable models will most likely have a heavier and more rigid visor, with a foamless and porous-free design so every part can be submerged or wiped down prior to re-use.
Anti-fogging and anti-glare
Anti-fogging properties can assist with high optical clarity, especially in high-humidity atmospheres or when the user is perspiring. Anti-fogging can be achieved by incorporating properties into the raw polymer and in some cases sprayed or wiped onto the surface.
Origin of manufacture
Look to partner with local manufacturers in your country. Local manufacturers will understand relevant country standards and take pride in the quality, consistency and delivery of their own product. Supporting local has never been so important, and when multiple companies make this choice, jobs are supported and revenue is put into circulation.
Originally published here.
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