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Hospitals Are Now Exploring the Use of Snorkeling Masks on COVID-19 Patients

Forced to be innovative, hospitals in Europe have already resorted to using the sports gear as an alternative.
Hospitals Are Now Exploring the Use of Snorkeling Masks on COVID-19 Patients
IMAGE Decathlon
Forced to be innovative, hospitals in Europe have already resorted to using the sports gear as an alternative.

Italy is the European country worst hit by COVID-19. It is also the second most affected nation in the world, with a current tally of 92,472 total cases, with 10,023 deaths and 12,384 recoveries. With hospitals overwhelmed and overworked for weeks, suffering a shortage of medical supplies and equipment, there came an emergent need to create innovative alternatives. Case in point: the use of Decathlon snorkeling masks to aid patients with severe respiratory problems. 

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Italian engineering company Isinnova has coordinated with Decathlon to produce a new design of the Easybreath snorkeling mask, with an added valve to ensure that it could be connected to a ventilator. This new fixture was 3D-printed, and the complete prototype was tested by both a researcher and a patient in need. Both tests ran successfully. 

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A total of 50 masks will soon be tested at the Erasme Hospital, located on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium. "They are to be used for patients with severe respiratory problems. The aim is to avoid having to intubate the trachea of the patient and put them on a respirator," said Frederic Bonnier, a respiratory physiotherapist at the hospital. 

The masks are said to prevent lung collapse, as the pneumonia engendered by COVID-19 inflames the lung membrane, filling the lung sacs with liquid, thus restraining the intake of oxygen as well as the exhalation of carbon dioxide. 

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On their website, the company highlighted that the mask is not yet certified and must only be used in case of an emergency, during which there are no immediately available options. 

Similarly, Decathlon Philippines made an announcement on their Instagram page, reiterating that the Easybreath mask was not originally designed for medical use. "Meanwhile, with the interest of transparency, Decathlon teams in Europe are offering a helping hand to technical experts with tests to see whether the mask may or may not be adapted to help in this fight against Covid-19," they wrote. 

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Boutique car company is also Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has also stepped up its efforts to combat the virus. Owner Jim Glickenhaus is advocating for the mass production of full-face snorkel masks for medical frontliners. The successful design has already been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration and is pending approval. 

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Locally, the Philipines has 1,418 cases of COVID-19 as of writing, with 71 deaths and 42 recoveries. 

For more stories on COVID-19, click here

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