While observing the protection mask in laboratories, I’ve noticed that some are “overdressed” making work uncomfortable by leaving areas of potential exposure unprotected. Below is the excerpt from my Grossing Technology book’s Occupational Safety section Protective Mask. This observation is especially significant during COVID-19 epidemic.
In the case of potential exposure to tuberculosis, AIDS, SARS – coronavirus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, etc., a different kind of protective mask should be used. The Kimberly-Clark FLUIDSHIELD mask is definitely advisable,
by wearing it in the upsidedown mode (Figures 15-6 and 15-7).
First, two internal layers are made from unwettable material. Designed to prevent penetration of splashes, the mask is not suitable for a prolonged use. The breathing area is overheated because the mask hampers evaporation. There is also over saturation with exhaled carbon dioxide that decreases the percentage of oxygen in the inhaled air. If we add undesirable reflections of the plastic shield (WrapAround SPLASHGUARD Visor), the conditions of using the mask become more unfavorable. It is more reasonable to wear the Kimberly-Clark mask with the plastic shield upside-down. In this situation, the area of air circulation is larger.
Second, while using the “modified” Kimberly-Clark mask with the shield down, I noticed that many droplets of blood, stain, and other fluid could be found on the plastic shield. It means that the chin and the neck, as more vulnerable to contamination than the forehead, are more protected from splashes and spatters. The shield reaches the ubiquitous blue protective gown like Convertors (ALLEGIANCE’s Impervious Gown w/Thumbhooks, Universal). One lower fold of the mask can be loosened to make the mask longer or the plastic shield can be cut to make it shorter if it is necessary for the individual adjustment. The lower strings can be tightened or loosened depending on the type of the processed specimen. The use of protective glasses with solid side shields at the grossing table is a necessity and the OSHA’s requirement without any exception.
If an air permeable light fabric extension to both sides of the mask were added with strings tight behind the neck, this design would make the mask more protective and comfortable for a prolonged work.(Figure 15-8). This “improvement” would not substantially increase the cost of the mask.The Kimberly-Clark FLUIDSHIELD mask line production had already been established for many years.
Perhaps, some other vendors will come across this post and implement this principle of a protective mask design.
Such type of a protective mask would be useful now and after the tide of deaths and fears. Only a simple design is workable.