These days sneeze guards are everywhere. These clear shields, usually made of acrylic or polycarbonate, were most frequently used in buffets.
Now they are being used to combat the spread of COVID-19. Sneeze guards protect customers and employees from respiratory droplets formed by sneezing, coughing, and talking.
Respiratory droplets are a common form of respiratory disease transmission, including COVID-19. The transmission of COVID-19 occurs when infected respiratory droplets contact your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Respiratory droplets are too large to remain suspended in the air for more than a short time. Still, transmission can happen indirectly if you touch an infected surface before touching your face.
It is effortless to spread disease if proper barriers are not in place and correctly maintained. There are a variety of reasons that you could be looking for a sneeze guard. This article will be tackling DIY sneeze guards along with looking at the different types of sneeze guards and their use.
DIY Sneeze Guard
If you are looking to build your sneeze guard, there are several excellent resources. Still, this video does a nice job of detailing all of the materials needed to make a sneeze guard.
Sneeze Guard Requirements
When it comes to combating COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend sneeze guard barriers. Currently, there are not any enforceable standards in place specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The FDA has rules about sneeze guards regarding food safety. There a list of regulations which you can read more about on this link: https://www.fda.gov/media/110822/download
The important takeaway here is that the sneeze guard should extend at least 72 inches from the ground.
Sneeze Guard For Desks
There are several kinds of sneeze guards for your desk.
There are freestanding models that you can place in front of your desk. Some models sit directly on the desk. Some barriers have a single surface, while others have three sides. You need to assess your level of risk to determine which model fits your needs best.
With schools starting to open nationwide, small and portable sneeze guards for desks could also prove useful in stopping the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining social distancing in schools.
- PROTECTIVE SNEEZE GUARD: Coughs and sneezes expel germy micro-droplets into the air. Our VirusLok acrylic barrier blocks these airborne aerosols,...
- STURDY AND STABLE: This sneeze guard comes with aluminum feet with non-skid pads that create a sturdy and stable base. The ¼” thick plexiglass...
- Stands Taller Than Other Brands, Literally! Our Plexiglass Sneeze Guard Are Of Size 48 X 32 Inches And Taller Than Other Sneeze Guards. Comfortably...
Sneeze Guard For Counters
Typically the sneeze guards used at checkout counters have a slot at the bottom so that merchandise may be passed through while reducing the risk of exchanging respiratory droplets.
Sneeze guards at checkout counters are crucial because cashiers must often be closer to strangers than the recommended 6 feet. The physical barrier is for their protection as well as the protection of the customer.
- Clear Acrylic or Poly Plastic Shield with Aluminum brackets
- FULL PROTECTION - Azar Displays plexiglass partition protects you, your employees, faculty, and your customers from airborne contaminants. The desk...
- Designed to fit Five Star Buffet Bars, ensuring compatibility and ease of use
Sneeze Guard For Cars
If you are a driver for a rideshare company like Lyft or Uber, you might consider investing in a sneeze guard. Each fare takes enough time for any viral infection to spread within the cabin. While these sneeze guards are not usually custom-built for your car, they are affordable and easy to install.
Despite the small air gap around the sides, these sneeze guards are still useful in protecting the driver from possible droplets. Investing in a sneeze guard could prove helpful even after COVID-19. They offer a barrier against disease along with a physical barrier, providing safety for the driver in unpredictable situations.
- S A M E D A Y S H I P P I N G / For orders before 2 pm ET
- 🚗Uber Protection Shield: Transparent Plexiglass shield for small, medium, large sized cars against sneezes, coughs, and splashes. Perfect for taxi...
- RIDESHARE SAFETY SOLUTION – Shield yourself and your passengers with our SMART and INNOVATIVE Shield Geek sneeze guard for cars. Provide a partition...
- USA Made
- Choice of three configurations: airtight car divider plastic shield for a sneeze guard; permeable fabric screen barrier for dogs and pets; or both
Portable Sneeze Guards
Portable sneeze guards tend to be foldable. This construction is a good option if you plan to move the sneeze guard around. Typically these are made of lightweight acrylic. Unfortunately, acrylic is susceptible to scratches, but its cost and lightweight make it a strong contender.
- Creating separate work spaces prevents the spread of airborne diseases. A clear partition provides a safe work environment with the opportunity for...
- ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT - From 24" to 96" Lengths, In-Stock, Single-Sided, Commercial Use
- Clear Acrylic or Poly Plastic Shield with Aluminum brackets
- PROTECT CUSTOMERS AND WORKERS: Clear plastic acrylic for the counter to shield from sneezing and coughing. Designed to limit contact and exposure with...
What Is A Sneeze Guard Used For?
In the before times, a sneeze guard was a piece of glass or plastic intended as a barrier to keep salad bars and other food areas sterile. These days, we find sneeze guards in more places, like checkout counters and lines at the grocery store. Their purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic is to reduce everyone’s exposure to respiratory droplets that are emitted when people cough, sneeze, or talk.
How High Should A Sneeze Guard Be?
For sneeze guards to be effective at reducing the spread of germs and viruses, a sneeze guard should extend at least 72 inches from the ground. The CDC and WHO are also recommending sneeze guards to help maintain social distancing in places of retail.
ADA compliant checkout counters tend to be 38 inches tall, but tables and counters can range from 30 to 42 inches. Regardless of counter height, a sneeze guard should extend above the counter, measuring a height of at least 72 inches tall from the floor.
How Thick Should A Sneeze Guard Be?
Depending on the application of the sneeze guard, various thicknesses could be an advantage or disadvantage.
Thin sneeze guards, 1/8 inch thick, are cheap to make and widely available. These thin sneeze guards make decent dividers for conference tables and the like. As thin sneeze guards are inexpensive, they are easy to buy in bulk and are suitable for temporary protection.
Suppose you are looking for a long-term solution. In this case, a sneeze guard that is roughly 2/3 to 1 inch thick will provide a more durable barrier. At this thickness, the sneeze guard will not only protect against cough but will also be impact-resistant.
What Are Sneeze Guards Made Of?
There are three primary materials used to make sneeze guards.
Considered the most durable option, polycarbonate is the material used with bulletproof glass. Polycarbonate is scratch-resistant, making it an excellent choice for a sneeze guard because it is easy to clean. If the material does not scratch, this decreases the number of bacteria hiding in the scratches. Additionally, polycarbonate is more robust and lighter than glass.
Acrylic, often called plexiglass, is the most common material used in sneeze guards. It is transparent and available in a variety of thicknesses. There are two acrylic types: extruded acrylic and cell cast acrylic.
Extruded acrylic is cost-effective, making it an affordable option if you need sneeze guards in large quantities.
Cell cast acrylic is more durable, so it is less likely to crack during the cutting process. It also boasts greater transparency.
Plexiglas is a brand name of acrylic. However, Plexiglas, as a brand, is exclusively cell cast acrylic. It is important to note that the word ‘plexiglass’ falls under any type of acrylic.
Sneeze Guards made of glass is the least common sneeze guard material nowadays as it is heavy, making it difficult to transport. Glass is also subject to shattering upon impact, which causes unsafe shards of glass to scatter. If you are creating a permanent structure, glass is a viable option. However, you may consider polycarbonate because of its resistance to breakage.
How Do You Clean A Sneeze Guard?
Acrylic tends to scratch easily, so you must take care when cleaning to maintain a scratch-free and clear sneeze guard. The first thing is to remove as much grit as possible. You could use a hairdryer on the coldest setting or pour water over the sneeze guard for this. The idea is to remove any particles that may scratch the sneeze guard.
Once you feel confident that your sneeze guard is free of particles that may scratch it, spray it with a cleaning solution, preferably an acrylic cleaner. A bleach and water mixture works well, too. Before using different products on your acrylic, be sure that it will not damage the sneeze guard.
Use a microfiber cloth instead as it is less likely to scratch the surface. Take care to only wipe the microfiber cloth across parts of the sneeze guard that are wet from the cleaning solution. Take care not to scrub too hard, or you could risk scratching the acrylic.
To avoid water spots, continue to wipe the acrylic with a microfiber cloth until the whole sneeze guard is dry. If you do not, you may find water stains on your acrylic.
Cleaning acrylic is not tricky. Still, there are some cleaning solutions that you should not use because they will break down the material and make the acrylic cloudy. When cleaning your acrylic sneeze guard, you should avoid using products that include alcohol, ammonia, or aromatics. You should also avoid using solvents such as acetone, which will also severely damage your acrylic sneeze guard.
To clean polycarbonate sneeze guards, you must rinse with lukewarm water and then wash with disinfecting soap using a soft cloth or a sponge. Wipe in the same direction as the flutes on the polycarbonate sheet.
Be sure to rinse out the sponge or cloth frequently and change out the water often. Make sure not to scrub too harshly, or you will run the risk of scratching the surface. For a water stain-free finish, wipe with cloth or sponge until dry.
When it comes to cleaning products, dish soap is effective and safe, as is Windex. Lysol will damage the material. It is essential to check that your cleaning supplies are compatible with your sneeze guard.
We are looking at a new normal, and sneeze guards are a part of it. Whether you are looking to make your custom sneeze guard or buy one, you have many options. Consider the location and application before making a decision. The material that you use for your sneeze guard is also significant.
After analyzing the different types of sneeze guards, it is evident that polycarbonate is the best option as it is durable and scratch-resistant, while the acrylic is the most affordable option.
While there are currently no regulations for sneeze guards, it is worth making sure that they are at least 72 inches tall to accommodate for the height of most people. The CDC and WHO recommend using sneeze guards in conjunction with masks and social distancing to combat the spread of COVID-19.
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