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Surgical mask

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Surgical mask


A surgical mask provides a wide range of wearers with a good fit and improved comfort, facilitates proper use of the mask, and reduces or eliminates fogging of eyewear, as compared with typical masks. The mask may include a pair of ties that are joined to the upper, central, and lower parts of either side of the body of the mask with the assistance of restraint members. The mask may also include a sealing member that reduces or eliminates gaps between the wearer's face and the upper part of the mask by forming a seal between the wearer's face and the mask in use. In addition, the mask may include a barrier panel that reduces or prevents the wearer's breath from escaping through the mask and rising to the wearer's eyewear.

Browse recent Allegiance Corporation patents - Mcgaw Park, IL, US
Inventors: Joseph PALOMO, Stephanie Carroll, Sara Wegener, Chris Aguilar, Joe Miller
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120272973 - Class: 128863 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 128 
Surgery > Body Protecting Or Restraining Devices For Patients Or Infants (e.g., Shields, Immobilizers) >Head Or Face Protector (e.g., Lips, Ears, Etc.) >Breath Or Contaminated Air Deflectors



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120272973, Surgical mask.

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RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/332,536 titled “Surgical Mask” filed May 7, 2010 and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/103,570 filed May 9, 2011. The related applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a surgical mask that provides a wide range of wearers with a good fit and comfort, while facilitating proper use of the mask and reducing fogging of the wearer\'s eyewear.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Medical professionals wear surgical masks to prevent contamination of a patient\'s surgical or wound site with the wearer\'s nasal and oral bacteria that may result from the wearer talking, sneezing, or coughing during a medical procedure, such as surgery. Surgical masks also protect the wearer\'s mouth, nose and mucosa from contacting splashes or sprays of the patient\'s blood or other body fluids and from airborne microorganisms.

Typical masks include a body that covers the nose and mouth of the wearer and two sets of ties that are attached to the body that the wearer must tie behind his/her head to secure the mask to his/her face. Having two sets of ties provides the masks with some adjustability as the wearer may position the ties to suit his/her comfort and preference. Usually, one set of ties is attached to the upper part of the body of the mask and is secured around the upper part of a wearer\'s head, and the other set of ties is attached to the lower part of the body of the mask and is secured around the lower part of a wearer\'s head.

The presence of two sets of ties for securing the mask presents the opportunity for improper use, however, which often results from the wearer\'s desire to increase his/her comfort while wearing the mask. For example, a wearer may secure only the upper part of the mask to the upper part of his/her head using one set of ties, while allowing the lower part of the mask and the corresponding ties to hang freely around the neck. Consequently, the bottom of the wearer\'s nose and mouth may be exposed to microorganisms from the patient\'s surgical or wound site. A wearer may alternatively secure the set of ties corresponding to the lower part of the mask and loosen the set of ties corresponding to the upper part of the mask, allowing the mask to hang at his/her neck, to increase his/her comfort during a break in a medical procedure. The wearer may then fail to secure the ties corresponding to the upper part of the mask when he/she is back in close proximity with a patient. As a result, the wearer\'s nose and mouth may be exposed to the patient\'s surgical or wound site. These practices are violations of protocol and may cause the loose set of ties and the mask to become an obstruction between the wearer and the patient, possibly hindering the performance of the medical procedure.

Masks with two sets of ties also provide a wearer the opportunity to reuse a mask, since the wearer is able to remove one set of ties while partially maintaining the mask on his/her head using the other set of ties. The wearer may later re-tie the other set of ties, as the need arises. This practice is especially problematic when the wearer encounters a different patient, as he/she may re-secure a partially attached and previously-used mask that has possibly been contaminated, instead of removing and discarding the previously-used mask, as protocol dictates. Another problem with having two sets of ties is that since the two sets of ties are secured to a wearer\'s head independently of each other, improper tying and placement of either set of ties may compromise the overall protection offered by the mask.

In addition to surgical masks, wearers often wear eyewear, such as glasses or protective goggles, while performing medical procedures. A common disadvantage of typical masks is that a wearer\'s eyewear may fog when vapor from the wearer\'s exhaled breath escapes from or through the upper part of the mask and rises into his/her eyewear. This problem is exacerbated when there is a large gap between the upper part of the mask and the wearer\'s face or when the wearer\'s breath goes through the upper part of the mask. To prevent fogging and to reduce heat build-up in a typical mask, wearers often fail to secure the set of ties corresponding to the lower part of the mask so that vapor can escape through the bottom of the mask, which is a violation of protocol, as discussed above.

Another problem with typical masks is that they fit too loosely or tightly on a wearer\'s face, causing the wearer discomfort. Some masks are so loosely fitted that they migrate during head movements or common facial movements associated with talking. This requires the wearer to adjust the mask, which is difficult and distracting during a medical procedure. Moreover, contacting a mask with a gloved hand during a medical procedure is a violation of protocol as the mask is not considered to be “sterile” and it may contaminate the sterile glove. Migration of the mask may be so significant that the mask partially blocks the eye region, potentially leading to a decreased field of vision and exposure of the wearer\'s nose and mouth. Some masks, such as respirator-type masks, fit very tightly against a wearer\'s face to reduce the chance of exposing the wearer to the patient\'s bacteria or exposing the patient to a wearer\'s nasal and oral bacteria. They do not, however, conform to the contours of the wearer\'s face, which causes the wearer discomfort.

The problems of improper use, fogging of a wearer\'s eyewear, and insufficient wearer comfort associated with a typical mask discussed above stem from an unsatisfactory fit of the mask against the wearer\'s face. In an effort to alleviate these concerns, hospitals and other medical care facilities must carry multiples shapes and sizes of surgical masks to fit the dimensions and to suit the preferences of all wearers. Typical masks range from those with flat parts that cover the nose and mouth of the wearer to those of highly contoured cone and “duckbill” styles, which must be made available in many styles to fit a wide range of wearers.

Thus, there is a need to develop a mask that solves the disadvantages of improper use, fogging of eyewear, and insufficient wearer comfort of a typical mask, while providing a wide range of wearers with a good fit.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a surgical mask that provides a wearer with improved comfort, facilitates proper use of the mask, and reduces or eliminates fogging of eyewear, as compared with typical masks. The mask also provides a wide range of wearers with a good fit.

The mask may include a single pair of ties, or alternatively a single strap, that is attached to the upper, central, and lower parts of either side of the body of the mask in conjunction with one or more pairs of flexible restraint members. The restraint members are attached to or integral with the body of the mask at or adjacent to the sides of the body of the mask. The ties and restraint members may orient the upper, central, and lower parts of the mask to the corresponding portions of a wearer\'s face. The ties and restraint members allow the mask to be donned easily and assist a wearer in complying with protocol. Further, this configuration reduces the potential for reuse of a mask. The location of the ties and restraint members also allow the mask to fit wearers of a wide range of shapes and sizes.

In some embodiments, the mask may include a sealing member that is attached to or is integral with the upper part of the mask so as to be in contact with the wearer\'s nose and cheeks in use. This sealing member reduces or eliminates any gaps between the wearer\'s face and the upper part of the mask by forming a seal between the wearer\'s face and the mask. Preferably, the sealing member, alone or in conjunction with the upper part of the mask, forms at least one pocket that exhibits low vapor transmission or, more preferably, vapor impermeability, from the wearer\'s face through the upper part of the mask. This configuration reduces or eliminates vapor from the wearer\'s exhaled breath from escaping from the upper part of the mask and fogging the wearer\'s eyewear. The sealing member is preferably soft and flexible to provide comfort and adjustability to the wearer.

In some embodiments, the mask may include one or more barrier panels that are joined to or integral with the mask. The one or more barrier panels form a barrier that reduces or eliminates the wearer\'s breath from escaping through the body of the mask and rising and fogging the wearer\'s eyewear. For example, if the one or more barrier panels are positioned at the upper part of the body of the mask, the one or more barrier panels preferably direct the wearer\'s breath toward the central and lower parts of the mask so that it may escape through the body of the mask and/or out from the sides.

The mask of the invention may include any combination of these and other features, as discussed below.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a mask according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of a mask according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an expanded view of a mask according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an expanded view of a mask according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a front view of a mask according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6a is a back view of a sealing member having a fold, according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6b is a back view of a sealing member showing a pocket created by a fold, according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a front view of a mask of the invention donned by a wearer.

FIG. 8 is side view of a mask according to one embodiment of the invention donned by a wearer.

FIG. 9 is side view of a mask according to another embodiment of the invention donned by a wearer.

FIG. 10 is a front view of a mask according to one embodiment of the invention having a strap and a cinching attachment.

FIG. 11 is a front view of a mask according to another embodiment of the invention having a strap and a cinching attachment.

FIG. 12 is a side view of a mask having a cap according to an embodiment of the invention donned by a wearer.

FIG. 13 is a graph showing a distribution of facial size bivariate cell numbers according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

The surgical mask of the invention overcomes the disadvantages of typical masks discussed above. In particular, the mask of the invention provides a wearer with improved comfort, facilitates its proper use, and reduces or eliminates fogging of eyewear, as compared with typical masks. The mask also provides a wide range of wearers with an improved fit.

Various aspects of the mask may be illustrated by describing components that are attached and/or joined together. As used herein, the term “attached” is used to indicate either a direct connection between two components or, where appropriate, an indirect connection to one another through intervening or intermediate components. In contrast, when a component is referred to as being “joined” to another component, there are no intervening or intermediate components present.

The mask may include ties that are integral with the mask or may be attached to the mask either directly or indirectly. The mask may include a pair of ties, or alternatively a single strap, that are attached to the body of the mask at or adjacent to the sides of the body of the mask. For example, the ties may be attached to the lower edge of the mask in a parallel or perpendicular alignment with the lower edge of the mask. Preferably, the ties are attached parallel to the lower edge of the mask so as to provide the mask with a better fit against the lower part of a wearer\'s face in use.

In one embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the ties 20 may be joined directly to the lower part of either side of the body of the mask 70. However, it is also possible to join the ties to the central or upper part of the body of the mask, or to join the ties to the restraint members, as discussed below.

The ties may secure the upper, central, and lower parts of the mask to the corresponding portions of a wearer\'s face as the wearer dons the mask and pulls the ties behind his/her head. The ties may be attached to the upper, central, and lower parts of either side of the body of the mask in conjunction with one or more pairs of flexible restraint members that are attached to or integral with the body of the mask.

The restraint members may be positioned at or adjacent to the sides of the body of the mask. The restraint members may be positioned parallel to, perpendicularly to, or at an angle from the sides of the body of the mask. The restraint members may take a variety of shapes and configurations including, but not limited to, sleeve, loop, rectangular, triangular, tapered, and curved shapes.

The ties may be attached to the restraint members in many ways. For example, the ties may be passed through, aligned with, or joined to the restraint members by any possible method including, but not limited to, ultrasonic welding, heat welding, adhesive bonding, or by stitching.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 3, 8, 10, and 12, the ties are attached by passing through flexible restraint members 30 formed as sleeves along the sides of the body 70 of the mask. The restraint members 30 may or may not extend all the way to the lower edge of the mask. Preferably, the restraint members 30 extend along the sides of the body 70 of the mask and end above the lower edge of the mask. The lower edge of the mask is preferably configured to be positioned under the wearer\'s chin. Alternatively, the restraint members 30 may extend all the way to the lower edge of the mask.

In another embodiment shown in FIGS. 2, 4, 9, and 11 the ties are attached by passing through flexible restraint members 80 and 82 formed as loops in the upper and central parts of the body 70 of the mask, respectively.

In some embodiments, more than two pairs of restraint members may be positioned at or adjacent to the sides of the body of the mask. In an embodiment shown in FIG. 5, pairs of restraint members 92 are attached to the upper, central, and lower parts of either side of the body of the mask and are joined together with ties 94 at a position distant from the body of the mask. These restraint members 92 may be formed integrally with each other, or one or more of the restrained members 92 may be formed integrally with the ties 94.

When the wearer secures or pulls the ties around his/her head while donning the mask, the restraint members conform toward the wearer\'s cheeks to orient and/or restrain the ties and to cinch the sides of the mask to the wearer\'s face. Preferably, the restraint members are configured to orient or cinch both sides of the lower, central, and upper parts of the body of the mask toward, and optionally in contact with, the wearer\'s face. As the body of the mask cinches, the body of the mask forms a chamber that covers at least the wearer\'s mouth and lower nose. The chamber has a generally contoured shape, but its shape varies based on how tightly the wearer secures the ties behind his or her head.

A wearer may optionally secure the ties while utilizing some, but not all, of the restraint members. Thus, the wearer may achieve a better fit of the mask against his/her face and provide greater comfort.

The ties may be made of flexible materials including, but not limited to, polyolefins, polyolefin alloys, and polyolefin elastomers. The materials may include fibers such as spunbond fibers and bi-component fibers in a core and sheath configuration such as a polyethylene sheath/polypropylene core.

The restraint members may be made of elastic materials that stretch towards the sides of the wearer\'s face so as to provide the mask with greater comfort and a better fit against the wearer\'s face in use. For example, when the restraint members are in a sleeve configuration, the sleeves are preferably made of an elastic material that stretches in one direction. The sleeve restraint members may be oriented at the sides of the mask so as to stretch in a direction perpendicular to the sides of the mask. The elastic material may include, but is not limited to, nonwovens, such as SMS with an elastic polyolefin, a spunbond made with elastic polyolefin, or knitted polyolefins or other polymers with elastic components.

The restraint members may also be made of flexible materials including, but not limited to, polyolefins, polyolefin elastomers, polyolefin alloys, and polyolefins or polyester with spandex. The materials may include fibers such as spunbond fibers, bi-component fibers in a core and sheath configuration such as a polyethylene sheath/polypropylene core, knitted polyester and knitted polyolefins.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120272973 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13434553
File Date
03/29/2012
USPTO Class
128863
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
41D13/11
Drawings
14



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