Written by Dianne Buckner · CBC News · Posted: Jun 17, 2020 4:00 AM ET

Not as fashionable as masks, but better for talking, breathing — and protection

If wearing a face mask seemed strange to most people not so long ago, wearing a plastic face shield had to be downright weird.

But as summertime arrives in Canada, interest in the plastic face coverings is heating up with the weather. Already in regular use by medical staff and some members of the public, face shields appear to be gaining appeal, boosting sales for manufacturers.

Fans say the devices are not only cooler to wear than cloth masks, but they allow for better breathing, make it easier to be understood when speaking. And most importantly, they offer better protection from the virus.

“Face shields protect your eyes, your nose and your mouth,” said Dr. Michael Edmond, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, who recently published an article promoting shields in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Those are the three areas where the virus can enter the body.”

Edmond said while face masks are intended to protect others, a face shield protects the wearer.

“Masks are really being recommended to control the virus at source, not to protect you,” he said.