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If the hottest accessory right now is the face mask, the plastic face shield comes in at a close second. You know, for when you want to mix up your daily PPE look.
Before you stock up, there are a few key differences between these two types of face coverings that you should know about. First, unlike a cloth face mask, a face shield can help protect your entire face (including your eyes) from the spread of COVID-19. And even though one doctor has likened them to dog cones, a protective face shield can be more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, like if you're working a long shift at a retail store or restaurant. Tons of celebrities, from Jennifer Lawrence to Jennifer Aniston, have even been spotted wearing a neck-mounted model called the ZVerse ZShield Wrap shield while on set (that's Lawrence shooting Don't Look Up in Boston at the top of this story).
While face shields can protect you, the CDC makes it clear that they may not be as effective at protecting others -- the traditional design has gaps on the sides of and below the face, which is how respiratory droplets can escape and potentially reach people around you. Masks, meanwhile, help prevent the wearer from transmitting the virus by absorbing those respiratory droplets and blocking them from traveling into the air around them. Wearing double masks is said to be even more effective.
So your best bet is to wear a reusable face shield as an extra layer of protection in addition to a cloth mask or other forms of PPE. Choose yours carefully with these recommendations from the CDC:
Look for a high-quality face shield that wraps around the sides of your face and extends below your chin or a hooded face shield -- see the fun-looking hoodie we found on Etsy below. These shield styles appear to be more effective at preventing the spray of respiratory droplets.
Wash your hands before and after removing your shield, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when removing it. (You should be doing this anyway.)
Clean and disinfect reusable face shields according to the manufacturer's instructions or by following the CDC's instructions. Do not reuse a disposable face shield, even if you're in a pinch -- wear it once and then throw it away.
Keep reading for our top recommendations of protective face shields.
Go ahead and see if you absentmindedly touch your face while wearing the ZShield Wrap. (You won't.) The face shield's innovative neck mount design also makes it less obtrusive for all-day wear, and the detachable visor allows for clearer communication. But don't just take our word for it: Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock, Mandy Moore and Gal Gadot have all been spotted with this PPE while on set. ZVerse also offers kid options, bulk packs and more.
Protect your vaccination card with a waterproof resealable plastic zip available at Amazon and Walmart. Vaccination card size varies so be sure to double-check the size of your card and the card holder before purchasing.