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VERIFY: Are face shields a good alternative to masks?

The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

PORTLAND, Ore. — While face shields are commonly used by front-line health workers, there hasn't been widespread use by the general public in the United States. But the interest is there. KGW has received several viewer questions asking if a face shield is a good alternative to a face mask. 

Dr. Payal Kohli points to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found face shields are good at preventing things from getting in because it covers your mouth, nose, and eyes.

"So, they're actually pretty good at protecting the wearer, but the opposite we don't know yet. Are they good at preventing droplets from getting out? And one of the reasons is because they're not as tightly fitting to our face," said Dr. Kohli.

Credit: Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways requiring face shields and maks on flights

Dr. Kohli said a face shield should be used as an alternative for some people, not a replacement for everyone. 

"If you're somebody who has extreme claustrophobia, you really just can't tolerate wearing the face mask, that's probably an acceptable alternative, but if you're going to do that, remember to maintain that social distancing really keep that six feet of distance from others," said Dr. Kohli. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face coverings. 

According to their guidelines, if you do wear a face shield it should wrap around the sides of the face and go below the chin.

KGW can Verify, a face shield can be used as an alternative by some people but a face mask offers better protection. 

Do you have something you want us to Verify? Email us Verify@kgw.com.

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