COVID-19 impact: Demand for face shields surge amidst growing cases in the country
COVID-19 impact: Demand for face shields surge amidst growing cases in the country

What distinguishes this Monsoon Session of parliament to its previous sessions? Yes, this time our lawmakers are attending the session with face shields. A strong message is being sent out by people's representatives that not only are masks important, it is also equally important to wear quality face shields for protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Face shields are an integral part of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit for frontline health workers. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people are adhering to the government guidelines, or advisory, to wear masks. While face shield as protective gear is not mandatory, it is much more efficient when compared with a mask. Face shields are equally, or even more important when compared with masks.

The demand for quality PPE Kits is also surging rapidly. Several Indian companies have geared up to cater to this growing demand for protective gear. Pune-based manufacturing company Bluemark Promotions took a lead and brought together an R&D team comprising of doctors, engineers and product designers to develop an innovative product - Smartguard Face Shield under their brand COVID Comfort. Within a month of its launch, COVID Comfort Face Shield has generated a huge response in both domestic as well as international markets.

The huge response comes due to several reasons including quality. Face shields have multiple practical advantages over masks, which are often worn incorrectly. They cover the eyes and are easily cleaned with soap and water. People are less likely to touch their faces-another way of spreading the virus-while wearing them.

It's easier to breathe while wearing face shields. Unlike masks, they are impermeable. For example, Smartguard Face Shield covers your whole face, extending to the ears on the side and below the chin on the bottom. There should be no gap at the forehead. A light-weight good quality Face Shield gives all one needs for protection.

"We have observed that the mass public finds it difficult and inconvenient to wear face masks since restricts comfortable breathing and also causes hindrance while talking. Face shields, though provide better protection, is either too delicate or too heavy for the users to wear all day. The Smartguard provides best-in-class safety and comfort for the people and within a month of its launch we are receiving an overwhelming response from the Indian market as well as overseas," said Sachin Lunavat, Founder Director, Bluemark Promotions.

Dr Sushrut Ganpule - Consultant - Chest Physician, Jupiter Hospital, Pune says, "The face shield is an important part of personal protective equipment. Even for medical professionals, it works really well as it keeps larger aerosols at bay and reduces the chances of getting an infection. Its role as a substitute to face masks is not clear. We should be careful enough while using face shields and should not touch face or nose while wearing or removing them. Disposable face shields should be worn for single-use and disposed of according to manufacturer instructions and reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use."

The Smartguard weighs merely 100 grams and is designed to completely cover the users face. The shield comes with replaceable visors and filters - something no other product provides in this category and is designed to provide users with a comfortable wearing experience without any fogging or voice echo.

Do we need both-Masks and face shields? The expert pointed out that a quality face shield alone is better than a face mask. People, who are not in healthcare settings, do not need both.

"It is really encouraging that the smartguard has become the first choice for all health workers and the general public. Apart from the Indian market, we will also be exporting this to San Francisco, Italy, Canada, UAE, Ecuador, Nairobi and other countries," said Yash Lunavat, CEO, Bluemark Promotions.

For a country of 1.3 billion people, initially, it was difficult to provide masks and face shields for all, but the Prime Minister's appeal to push ' Make in India' initiative, 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' and a call for 'Vocal for Local,' gradually Indian Companies resolved the issue of the demand-supply gap of masks and face shields.

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