DiversityNursing Blog

MIT Designed An Effective And Reusable Face Mask

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 22, 2020 @ 12:44 PM

siliconemaskResearchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital designed a new face mask that is believed to be as effective as N95 masks. 

There has been a dire need for N95 masks in hospitals across the nation. Essential workers were wearing the disposable masks more than once, often weeks at a time. 

Engineers and researchers hope to provide a solution to this shortage by designing a mask that can be safely reused. 

According to CNBC, the new MIT mask is made from silicone, with slots for just two small, disposable disks of the N95 material (which serve as filters). That means the masks themselves can be quickly and easily sterilized and reused.

Adam Wentworth, a Research Engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said, "With this design, the filters can be popped in and then thrown away after use, and you’re throwing away a lot less material than an N95 mask." 

The mask is called iMASC, which stands for Injection Molded Autoclavable, Scalable, Conformable. The iMASC can be sterilized a couple of different ways. You can use a steam sterilize, put it in an oven, or soak them in both bleach and rubbing alcohol. 

In a study researchers had 20 healthcare workers wear the mask and perform a series of movements to see how it stayed in place. High ratings were given for fit and breathability. 

The study also showed the mask successfully filtered out a sugar solution in the air that was used to mimic aerosolized respiratory droplets.

According to FastCompany, researchers are beginning talks with the FDA about emergency use authorization, both for healthcare workers and the general public. The team is currently running both an environmental impact study and a cost-effectiveness study, and has estimated that its mask could cost just $15 and be used up to 100 times, making the cost per use likely less than a quarter, with the filter inserts less than a dollar.

There is no timeline yet as to when these masks will be available. 

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Topics: PPE, face masks, personal protective equipment, N95 masks, reusable masks, iMASC

Student Creates Face Masks For The Deaf Community

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Apr 17, 2020 @ 09:29 AM

masksAs COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, people are coming together to help one another now more than ever.  

Ashley Lawrence, a 21-year-old in Kentucky, noticed that since so much of the population now are opting to wear protective face masks, those who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on lip reading are struggling to access critical information. 

So she and her mom set to work sewing masks using plastic fabric and bed sheets, experimenting with various attachments for people who use cochlear implants and hearing aids and can’t wrap mask straps around their ears.

deafmasks

On the DHH Mask Project GoFundMe page Lawrence said she would distribute the masks for free to those who request them so they can provide them to their Doctors if they need medical attention.

Lawrence also said they were no longer accepting donations as they had met their goal, saying she was “completely overwhelmed” by the response.

For anyone who wants a mask, she suggested emailing dhhmaskproject@gmail.com. However, she noted they are struggling to meet the high demand.

“I felt like there was a huge population that was being looked over,” Lawrence told local news station LEX18. “We’re all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of. So I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication.”

And for anyone who wants to make face masks for their own community, Ashley said she would post a YouTube tutorial soon and would be willing to email the sewing pattern upon request.

According to Huffington Post, the Deaf Society advocates for sign language interpreters to be present for any interactions between DHH people and medical personnel, but these face masks could add further dimension to these interactions by allowing clients to see medical staff’s facial expressions and read their lips.

 

Topics: COVID-19, deaf community, face masks

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