LIFESTYLE NEWS - For all the irritation that face masks cause, they are not interchangeable with a face shield, also not for people who are forced by circumstances to wear a mask for the duration of their work day.
Case Rijsdijk, astronomer from Wilderness, wanted to know if there is a legal difference between wearing a mask and a transparent screen.
"To me the screens do not prevent the emission of particles and should be banned, unless they are used with a mask," said Rijsdijk.
He is right. Leensie Lötter, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health, says their official stance on face masks is that even when using a visor, people should use a mask in addition in order to stop secretions from their own nose and mouth from contaminating their surroundings.
"There is currently no evidence to support the use of face shields in a work environment as they are bulky and impractical and employees would probably frequently touch them and potentially contaminate their hands.
"However, they theoretically provide some protection and so if employees wish to use them, they should be allowed to do so, but they must use them properly, and not without also wearing a face mask," said Lötter.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that wearing a mask could create a false sense of security in the wearer, leading to diminished practice of physical distancing and hand hygiene.
Cloth masks could increase the potential for Covid-19 infection if the mask is contaminated by dirty hands and touched often, or kept on other parts of the face or head and then placed back over the mouth and nose.
The WHO recommends buying or making a mask that lets you breathe properly while talking and walking briskly.
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