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During one of my rare trips to the grocery store, I spotted someone with a plastic face shield. While they haven’t been talked about much compared to face masks, searches specifically for the plexiglass and vinyl contraption — more informally known as a “sneeze guard” — have gone up 200 percent in May, according to data compiled by Google into a consumer behavior report.
According to the CDC, cloth coverings and fabric face masks have been deemed as one of the easiest protective measures to help reduce the risk of inadvertently infecting others while you’re out in public and can’t be a safe six feet away from one another.
Medical professionals have been using facial shields with masks as part of their PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, since the global pandemic started. But now, more and more people are beginning to wear them in public, especially other essential workers and those returning to businesses as the country begins reopening. But just how efficient are they compared to masks?
How can sneeze guards help?
While sneezing has been determined to not be a symptom of the novel coronavirus, viral mucus and saliva droplets projected from sneezing, coughing or breathing is one of the main ways you could potentially get infected, according to an article from New York Times about how coronavirus can and cannot spread.
In a 2014 study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene on the efficacy of face shields against cough droplets for healthcare workers, the conclusion notes that “the use of face shields can substantially reduce the short-term exposure of healthcare workers to larger infectious aerosol particles.”
While sneeze guards (like masks) don’t replace social distancing and hand washing, they can help act as an extra barrier of protection for others (paired with a mask), if you choose to venture out into public.
Credit: Getty Images
Where can you buy sneeze guards?
Sneeze guards used for your face might be the most common type you’re searching for, but those plexiglass barriers you’re seeing at banks, grocery stores and other essential businesses also act as sneeze guards.
And as more businesses think about what re-opening looks like and how returning to an office setting will be different, there are larger sneeze guards that you can buy too for different aspects of life.
Right now, the most reliable options available for desktop and facial sneeze guards are on Etsy. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best sneeze guards and other acrylic/plexiglass shields you can use for your business, workplace or home.
Shop: Face Shield Visor, $9.99
Shop: Face Shield, $14.95
Shop: Plastic Face Shield Mask, $7
Shop: Plexiglass Counter Sneeze Guard, $75+
Shop: Acrylic Desk Sneeze Guard, $53.09+
If you liked this story, you might like to read about where to buy toilet paper if you’re in need.
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