Face Mask Tighteners and Sealers

Safe resumption of business and other activities are likely to rely on diligent use of face coverings and face masks to prevent contagion. Respirators, when available, are designed to seal over the nose and mouth to prevent leakage. Surgical and other face masks are, however, not so designed, and this compromises their ability to protect the wearer and others.

Surgical mask sealers are intended to press the boundaries of a surgical mask around the nose and mouth to improve the seal enormously. Most of these currently require a 3D printer to manufacture, although it is conceivable that a CPAP mask could fulfill the same function. I tried a respirator in the same role and got good results, except it emphatically does not create a perfect seal. The mask itself, in fact, creates the same issue as a beard by compromising the sealing area. The following image is not a recommendation to use a respirator in this role–the N95 or superior filters it is designed to use should be used–but rather an attempt to simulate a CPAP mask in the same role.

The key takeaway is that we are asking a surgical mask to do something for which it was not originally designed, i.e. protect the wearer as well as others from contagion. Any action that reduces leakage around the mask–and authoritative online sources warn that this is why these masks offer only limited protection–should increase their effectiveness.

(Does not constitute formal engineering or OH&S advice.)

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