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Last updated on April 13, 2020
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Over the past week we made several YouTube videos on how to make your own DIY COVID-19 Face Shield. You can play the videos though the links provided below.

As of today (April 9, 2020), our videos have been viewed more than 200,000 times! Thanks to everyone who viewed and shared the videos, and to those who made face shields for themselves and others!

At the time I posted the first video, there were no other similar videos on YouTube. Since then many have DIY face shield videos have been posted, which is great!

Video Link

Date & Description


 

March 25, 2020

Simplified face shield design using a stapler instead of Velcro, which can take as little as 90 seconds to make!


 

March 23, 2020

Shorter video, new design using transparent binding covers.


 
March 20, 2020

Initial two-part video of a face shield made from a recycled plastic lid and shipping foam.

News Section (New!)

April 9, 20209

We have been contacted by CFS Products Inc. (https://www.cfsbinds.com/) to let us know that they are now selling their clear binding covers at a steep discount to support this worldwide effort! You can now order their binding covers at https://www.cfsbinds.com/8-5-x-11-med-7-mil-square-corners-100-bundle.html (They also sell these covers on Amazon)

Also, check out their YouTube Video!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How do you take off the face shield after use? Let's say that you just went to the market and are about to get into the car. Do you wipe the visor down with alcohol first before taking it off?
  2. Can wearing a face mask of any kind reduce your chances of getting infected?
  3. If I can't find a medical face mask, what other options do I have?
  4. Question on the Face Shield design: Would it work well if there is a big open space (gap) under the Face Shield?
  5. Why aren't health authorities advising general public to wear face shields?
  6. What are the pros and cons of wearing the face shield versus a face mask?
  7. One problem we encountered was fog. Do you have some kind of solution for this?

Here we will post some questions and answers from Branko's YouTube channel, in no particular order.

Question 1

How do you take off the face shield after use? Let's say that you just went to the market and are about to get into the car. Do you wipe the visor down with alcohol first before taking it off?

Answer:

This is what I do, not necessarily the best practice:

  • When I go shopping I wear the face shield and also reusable rubber gloves.
  • When I get back in the car, I wipe the front of the face shield off with a wet baby wipe soaked with hand sanitizer.
  • Next I take the face shield off and put it on the passenger seat, front down.
  • Next I wipe the back of the face shield with the same wet wipe.
  • Next I add more some hand sanitizer to the wet wipe.
  • Next I sanitize the gloves and anything I touched with the gloves (e.g. car keys) with the same wet wipe.
  • Next, I take the gloves off and put them on the passenger seat beside the face shield.

Rationale:

Unless you wear full PPE including the full body gown, the N-95 mask, the face shield and the gloves, you may become exposed to Coronavirus whenever you enter the environment in which Coronavirus is present in the air (aerosolized) or on the surfaces. However, the face shield alone should help reduce the Infectious Dose (the amount of virus exposure at the start of infection), by providing a physical barrier to water droplets containing Coronavirus and by making it much harder to touch your face while you are wearing it. Reducing the Infectious Dose should at least make your symptoms milder in case you become infected with the Coronavirus.

References:

Question 2

Can wearing a face mask of any kind reduce your chances of getting infected?

Answer

So far the authorities in the western countries have generally been advising against wearing masks when it comes to general public. Sometimes the risk of getting infected when removing the mask and the risk of touching your face when wearing the mask (to adjust the mask) were cited as rationales for this recommendation. Many suspected that the main reason was that there was, and is, a shortage of masks for the health care workers, who need the masks much more than general public.

Just within the last few days, the recommendations seem to have started change. Some of the reasons cited for this is the experience from countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, which have successfully "flattened the curve" and where a lot more people wear masks than in the western countries. While correlation does not necessarily imply causations, there seems to be mounting evidence that wearing masks reduces the chances of infection.

There are several potential issues with wearing a face mask mask that have been quoted in the media:

  • If the general public is told to wear face masks, the demand for the surgical masks and the N-95 masks will skyrocket, making it more difficult for the frontline health care workers, for whom they are essential, to get them.
    This is an absolutely valid argument! Unless the hospitals in your area, and in your country as a whole, have enough medical face masks, then please do not try to obtain some yourself, at least not until the supply of the masks has exceeded the demand from the health care institutions. Instead, you may want to make your own DIY face masks, as it has been advised by CDC in their Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks.
     
  • Wearing a face mask will make you more likely to touch your face in order to adjust the mask.
    This is where wearing the Face Shield on top of the face mask comes in handy!
     
  • Unless the face mask is worn properly and it is N-95 rated, wearing it will do more to protect those around you in case you are infected, then to protect you if someone around you is infected.
    This is absolutely true! However, if the majority of people wore the face masks in public (like in Taiwan and South Korea), and even better if they wore the face shields and the face masks, we would all be better protected and the spread of the Coronavirus would be slowed.
     
  • Taking the mask off, if done improperly, can actually infect you with the Coronavirus.
    This is also true! However, there are numerous resources on thee Internet that will teach you how to do that. For example, How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask published by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
     
  • If people wear face masks that will give them a false sense of security, so they will be more likely to go out and ignore the guidelines for physical distancing, and will thus increase the spread of the Coronavirus.
    This is a dubious argument at best. Yes, some not-so-bright and/or careless people will do just that, but I think that they make a small minority of the general public (and if I'm wrong, then we are doomed anyway). However, if the vast majority of people use the face masks (and face shields) as an added protection against spreading the Coronavirus, while still observing all other guidelines, then the damage done by the few Covidiots will be greatly outweighed by the benefit earned by the rest of us.
    A little off topic, the "false sense of security" argument also reminds me of the old argument against putting the airbags in cars, that driving a car with an an airbag will make people drive more recklessly than they would otherwise, thus increasing the total number of accidents and the number of fatalities. A former colleague of mine used to say that, by the same logic, instead of the airbags, the car manufacturers should be installing 9 inch spikes on the steering wheels, pointing straight at the driver's head. Now that would make everyone slow down and pay attention!

References

Question 3

If I can't find a medical face mask, what other options do I have?

Answer

The best answers to this question can be found on the CDC Web page Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks. Below is an excerpt (HCP means Health Care Personnel):

  • Use a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face with no facemask.
  • HCP use of homemade masks: In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

References

Question 4

Question on the Face Shield design: Would it work well if there is a big open space (gap) under the Face Shield?

Answer

The most important part of the face shield is the top part (say the top 6 inches or 15 cm), which covers the eyes, the nose and the mouth. However, the longer the shield and the more it wraps around your head, the better. If the transparent plastic is too small or to short, one way to extend the face shield is to glue or tape or staple another piece of plastic to the bottom of it or to the sides of it. The bottom or side pieces don't even have have to be transparent.

References

Question 5

Why aren't health authorities advising general public to wear face shields?

Answer

This is a very good question. One answer would be ask the health authorities, only they should know. One possible reason is that, while it is somewhat normal for general public to wear face masks (especially in many Asian countries) it is not usual to wear face shields. Another reason could be that the there are still not enough face shields for the health care professionals, let alone general public.

This news article (thanks to one Julia for the link) talks about how wearing face shields in public could help fight the Pandemic Iowa doctors: Face shields are an achievable way to provide protections that COVID-19 demands. The Iowa doctors article says basically the same thing that we have been trying to promote. The only thing they have missed is that the general public could be equipped with DIY face shields in a very short order. Otherwise, it will take a very long time to wait for production to catch up to the demand.

Here's an interesting story from Thailand on face shields for babies!

References

Question 6

What are the pros and cons of wearing the face shield versus a face mask?

Answer

According to the scientific paper Face shields for infection control: A review by Raymond J. Roberge, the Advantages and disadvantages of face shields compared with other forms of face/eye protection (i.e., protective facemasks [filtering facepiece respirators, medical/surgical masks], goggles, safety glasses) are:

Advantages:

  • more comfortable
  • protect a larger portion of the face
  • less retained dermal facial heat
  • less fogging than goggles
  • less claustrophobic
  • no impact on breathing resistance
  • no fit testing required
  • can be disinfected easily
  • wearers do not need to be clean shaven
  • easy to don and doff
  • relatively inexpensive
  • no impact on vocalization
  • can be worn concurrent to other face/eye PPE
  • do not impede facial nonverbal communication
  • reduced patient anxiety
  • protects against self-inoculation over a wider facial area
  • may extend the useful life of a protective facemask when used concurrently

Disadvantages:

  • glare
  • fogging
  • optically imperfect
  • some models may not fit properly over some respirators (e.g., duckbill filtering face piece respirators)
  • bulkier than goggles and safety glasses
  • peripheral fit poorer than protective facemasks

Again and again, a couple of important advantages of the face shields are missed:

  • the DIY version is generally as effective as the "professional" version. The same cannot be said the the DIY face masks.
  • If the use of DIY face shields was promoted by the health authorities, a large portion of general public could be equipped with DIY face shields in a matter of days. Why this is not done remains a mystery.

References

Question 7

One problem we encountered was fog. Do you have some kind of solution for this?

Answer

One of our YouTube viewers (Mary Ann) came up with an elegant solution, by adding weather strip pieces spaced along the strip base to create air flow channel, as shown in the picture on the left below. This method will work well if you are using thin foam (weather stripping), say 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick (6 to 10 mm).

 

Another, even easier way would be to cut the foam into four 2 inch long pieces and space them 1/2 inches apart, as shown in the picture on the right. This assumes that you are using the foam that is 1/2 inch (13 mm) thick or more.

This way the warm breath air can pass out the top of the mask. This should work for both cold weather to avoid fogging up and for warm weather to provide some cooling air flow under the face shield.

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