- N95 masks have high filtration efficiency but have some drawbacks with bruising on the face and causing dizziness
- A chief nurse executive addressed this concern by making a mask with a better filter and is more breathable
- She got the concept from AC filters that are electrostatic and included a design which allows carbon dioxide to float away easily
N95 masks have a high filtration rate, which from the name itself blocks at least 95% of foreign particles. Ideally, it should be worn only for eight hours. Extended usage may create painful marks on the face and cause dizziness due to reduction in oxygen supply.
A chief executive nurse and senior vice president at the University Health System in San Antonio, Texas, Tommye Austin has seen this concern Furthermore, the anticipation of a spike in COVID cases would inevitably affect their N95 masks supply.
Tommye decided to take action on that. Her late husband used to teach her that the best airconditioning filters in their home are electrostatic. They are pricey because they possess a charge that exterminates more unwanted particles in the air. So with that in mind, she went shopping for electrostatic filters.
She bought three kinds at 25 USD each and carefully studied which is most pliable and breathable.
Tommye isn’t just a nurse backed with superb credentials —– R.N., Ph.D., MBA and NEA-BC (Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified) but also has skills in embroidery, quilting and sewing.
With that, she made a cloth mask with a snuggle fit but will not leave marks on the face and has air pockets for carbon dioxide to float away. This addresses concerns on N95 masks leaving bruises on the face and can sometimes lead to dizziness with the pooling of carbon dioxide and reduction of oxygen intake.
The Southwest Research Institute tested the prototype and found out it has better filtration than original masks! One material has a 99.5% filtration rate while the other scored at 97.8%.
She named it TM2020 and soon, people started asking her instructions on how to make it while others are willing to buy from her.
Thanks to Tammye’s skills and concern for others. It has helped find better alternatives to existing solutions.
If you are interested in making your own, find step by step instructions here.