Protecting staff and patients – why visors are essential in the fight against COVID
Ramfoam Care+ explains how its face shields are helping to protect dentists and dental professionals against COVID.
As dental practices return to face-to-face treatment, minimising the risk of infection to patients and staff is a key priority.
Most dental practices are continually updating their standard operating procedures. This is to incorporate the latest guidance from the Office of the Chief Dental Officer for England (OCDO), or the relevant devolved chief dental officer. As well as Public Health England, the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (FGDP), the Scottish Clinical Dental Effectiveness Programme (SCDEP), the BDA or the BAPD.
Current NHS protocols require dentists and nurses using non aerosol generating procedures to wear surgical masks, gloves and eye protection. As well as following standard infection control precautions.
Those operating with AGPs must combine these practices with an FFP3 or FFP2 fit tested respirator. Together with a suitable visor or face shield.
Clinicians can wear visors, however, for both AGPs and non AGPs. They provide an added layer of protection in addition to masks and eye wear.
Earlier in the pandemic, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a number of cloth masks only provide some filtration of virus-sized aerosol particles. It concluded that visors, or face shields, are a better option.
Face masks have become mainstay and provide a level of public reassurance. But an additional barrier that extends beyond the eyes and over the covered mouth and nose area – rather than eye coverings that only protect the eye area – is increasingly thought to provide a more effective barrier to infection.
Large-scale studies are yet to be completed. But a simulation study led by the University of Iowa found that face shields reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by a simulated healthcare worker within 18 inches of a cough.
Visor of choice
Here in the UK, the success of wearing visors along with face masks in NHS hospitals provides a sound basis for adoption throughout other frontline healthcare settings. Particularly in dental practices where exposure during face-to-face treatment is high.
The NHS visor of choice is the Ramfoam Care+ Protective Visor. This has been manufactured for frontline healthcare workers since May this year. Tested and produced to ISO 9001 standards and fully BS EN 166 certificated, these visors have a number of advantages over other forms of PPE.
They consist of two primary components; a latex-free, non-toxic and hypo-allergenic foam headband. This reduces skin irritation on contact. The user can adjust it to comfortably fit the wearer’s head size and shape. It also includes an optically clear, anti-fog visor.
A particular advantage of the medically-approved foam in Ramfoam Care+ Visors is that its closed-cell structure prevents the ingress of sweat, liquids and aerosols, which can harbour bacteria. This restricts any liquid to the surface. Here it can be easily cleaned with soap and water or sterilised with common agents like IPA or hypochlorite solution.
Users can also wash and sterilise the visor, enabling continual re-use. And also making the Ramfoam Care+ Visor a much more sustainable and cost-effective option than many disposable forms of PPE. Clinicians can also fully personalise them with a dental practice logo. They are available in a range of different colours.
Making treatments as safe as possible
‘If face masks and eye protection are the first line of defence for dentists, then visors are the essential second line,’ says Tim Mulqueen, international director at Ramfoam.
‘Face masks provide a crucial barrier to infection. But we know there are some limits to the level of protection they can provide. Particularly in face-to-face settings when it’s necessary to care for patients they cannot treat whilst they are wearing any form of PPE.
‘We’ve been working closely with the NHS throughout the pandemic. We’ve seen first-hand the success of using visors alongside face masks as an added layer of protection; our mission now is to help other healthcare providers such as dental practices to protect their staff and patients. To ensure that clinicians can administer both AGP and non-AGP treatments as safely as possible.’
Prices start from just £3.45.