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COVID-19: Dental patients can wear a helmet to suck the droplets



Do you think the dentist’s condition will not get worse?Patients may soon be required to wear a helmet that can breathe cough droplets from COVID infection

  • Health care professionals are at higher risk of COVID infection
  • The helmet ensures the safety of the dentist while allowing them to work on the patient’s mouth
  • A pump mounted on the top of the disposable helmet produces a reverse airflow
  • If the patient coughs, any water droplets will be sucked back and cannot escape

In order to protect dentists from contracting the coronavirus, patients may soon be required to wear an open helmet to suck up any COVID-containing droplets they cough.

A disposable transparent helmet developed by experts at Cornell University in New York is connected to a pump that generates a reverse airflow around the head.

This ensures that any droplets that may be infected are caught in the airflow entering through the orifice and cannot escape the helmet.

In addition to dentists, so-called otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) can also use this concept, who also need to touch the patient’s head and neck.

Healthcare professionals are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection because they often come into contact with patients with or without symptoms.

Currently, protection comes from N95 masks and face masks, as well as the use of empty clinic rooms or so-called “negative pressure” rooms with air filtering functions.

However, experts warn that, unlike new helmets, these measures are expensive and are usually neither efficient nor easily available.

In order to protect dentists from contracting the coronavirus, patients may soon be required to wear an open helmet that will suck away any COVID-laden droplets they cough.

Team designed helmet Its top is connected to a medical-grade air filter pump, which generates a reverse air flow to prevent cough droplets from flowing out of the helmet.

Using computer-based fluid dynamics simulations, the researchers determined that the helmet will be able to hold 99.6% of the droplets when the wearer coughs within a tenth of a second.

Paper author and engineer Mahdi Esmeri said: “Considering, if we use the same air pump to create a negative pressure isolation chamber, it will take about 45 minutes to remove 99% of airborne pollutants from the chamber.

The design uses a 0.04 inch (1 mm) thick transparent shell that completely encloses the head and neck-except for the vacuum ports and openings that allow passage.

The nozzle connected to the mouth entrance is used to extend the distance that the droplet must travel against the flow, thereby minimizing the chance of the droplet escaping from the helmet through the opening.

The researchers say that at the same time, this can achieve a smoother flow transition, thereby reducing patient discomfort caused by air turbulence.

The helmet can also greatly reduce operating costs by replacing current practices, such as the use of air filters to build a negative pressure chamber, which may cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Researchers say that if it is made of disposable materials, the price of each helmet may be as low as a few dollars (about 1.50 pounds).

The medical-grade high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter negative air machine that powers the helmet is readily available, and the price is approximately £740 (US$1,000).

Healthcare professionals face a higher risk of COVID-19 infection because they often come into contact with patients with or without symptoms. Currently, protection comes from N95 masks and face masks, as well as the use of empty clinic rooms or so-called “negative pressure” rooms with air filtering functions. However, experts warn that unlike new helmets, these measures are expensive and often neither efficient nor easily available.

The author of the paper and Cornell University mechanical engineer Jia Dongjie explained: “Our next step is to improve the helmet design to make it more efficient and more widely used.”

“After that, we plan to build a prototype of the helmet and conduct experiments to verify our simulation predictions.”

The research team added that the simulation framework used to evaluate the helmet concept can be used to study other particle-related phenomena and designs.

All the findings of this research were published in the journal Fluid Physics.


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