Cooling Vests May Be Solution to PPE Discomfort for COVID-19 Healthcare Personnel

A team of scientists from the Radboud University Medical Center have tested out cooling vests that were initially designed for elite athletes on nursing staff who work long shifts in coronavirus wards wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). While PPE is essential, it can cause discomfort. The majority of the staff in the facility reported that they felt more comfortable with the vest on because it combats heat stress. The vest is now part of the center’s standard equipment.

PPE’s are important as they help keep healthcare personnel, who are on the frontline of duty, safe during the coronavirus pandemic. However, when worn for a long time, the equipment can be both cumbersome and uncomfortable, in addition to causing heat issues.

The researchers who conducted the study reported that the temperatures in the suits that healthcare personnel wear could go up to 36 degrees Celsius during a shift in which the equipment is worn for three hours or longer without being removed.

The researchers believe that improving the comfort of the medical personnel will allow them to work more effectively while also making their work more pleasant. One of the researchers, Thijs Eijsvogels, explained that the cooling vests were not ideally suited for the use they were modified for because they had been made for elite athletes and had been designed to cool aggressively both before and after physical exertion. He explained that coronavirus care included the use of these vests long term, which was the main reason the cooling power of the vests was modified to work for a longer period.

To make those modifications, the vests were stored in a refrigerator before being used. When they had been cooled of, they were put in a mobile cooler and then distributed to medical personnel in the ward. The staff then put on the vests over their scrubs and under their protective equipment.

The trial that was conducted by the researchers involved 17 nurses who reported feeling more comfortable with the vests on. Data collected from the trial shows that although the vests slightly affected the core body temperature, nurses who had worn the vests while working had lower heart rates. This suggests that they were probably more relaxed.

Another researcher, Johannus de Korte, noted that nearly 90% of the nurses experienced heat and discomfort when they did not have cooling vests on. This number is significantly higher than the 20–30% who felt this way with the vests on. He added that almost every participant admitted that they could work normally, as they had before the pandemic, when they had a cooling vest on.

Still on the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of other biomedical companies have stepped in to help in any way they can. For example, United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network, Inc. distributes rapid antigen test kits for the virus in addition to providing comprehensive telehealth solutions.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/UnitedMed

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