Ask A Doctor: Are Clear Face Shields As Effective As Masks?

A UT Health San Antonio physician answers listeners’ questions about their health during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Michael MarksJuly 23, 2020 11:50 am,

In this week’s installment of Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio physician, Dr. Fred Campbell answers more of Texas Standard listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus.

If you test positive and recover from COVID-19, what should you do to rid your body of any residual effects of the virus?

The process of recuperating from COVID-19 should be similar to that of any other infection. The key goals are getting back to a healthy weight and normal strength.

“A gradual exercise schedule, that isn’t overly taxing, is a really good way to get one’s body back into good shape. The same thing goes with regaining any weight that one lost; making sure that one’s using a balanced diet,” Campbell said.

Are clear face shields as effective as masks?

Health professionals typically use face shields in combination with a second device like a mask, to guarantee the best possible protection against COVID-19 transmission. 

“There are masks that are now available – there’s one called the Hello Mask – that is made of the component over the mouth and nose area that is transparent and allows the mouth to be visualized,” Campbell said. “So that would be an alternative to a face shield, which appears to be effective and filtering as well.”

Does N95 refer to the material used in the mask or the particular design or both?

There are two basic types of N95 masks. One, which is labeled for industrial use, protects industrial workers from breathing in particles on the job. The other is for health professionals, to reduce the likelihood of picking up microbes from the air. 

“I can’t tell anyone to use an industrial mask for health care purposes because to my knowledge they’re not tested, cross-tested, or health care purposes.  But it’s possible that there could be significant protection against microbes,” Campbell said. 

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.

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