Scent-releasing Respiratory Mask

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Background:

Many medical and non-medical activities require facial coverings or masks. Rationale for wearing a respiratory mask include protection from liquids (bodily or other), small scattered particles (metal or wood chips, compost) and odors, as well potential protection from microbes. Conversely, for those that are themselves ill, wearing a facial mask may help decrease pathogen transmission risk to others. Moreover, wearing a facial mask is often an OSHA regulation for employees of various types (medical personnel, chemical workers). Others wear facial masks during everyday tasks such as riding public transportation, protecting from pollution, woodworking, collecting trash, gardening, household or industrial cleaning, and skiing or other sports.

While most inexpensive everyday facial masks may provide simple or even antimicrobial barrier protection, they have not gone further. For instance, current masks do not protect the wearer from disagreeable odors and in fact may hamper breathing in wearers with upper respiratory infection. Moreover, they provide no additional means of decreasing pathogen transmission other than by mechanical barrier.

Description:

This invention involves modifying everyday facial masks to incorporate within medicated compounds (menthol, albuterol, calcium channel blockers, corticosteroid, antihistamines, pre-anesthesia sedative, antiviral, etc), stimulant compounds (low dose ammonium carbonate, caffeine, etc.), or herbal compounds (vitamin C, anti-oxidant formulations, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosewood, coriander, herbal aromatics, ginko). The mask incorporates scented pressure-activated discs containing pro-compounds in microcapsules or alternative delivery systems that release a vapor therapy, gentle stimulus, herbal treatment or pleasant fragrance for the wearer when activated by squeezing the disc.
This disc converts the common barrier mask into a medicated or scented mask, which:

  • treats a temporary condition (a mentholated mask for nasal congestion while gardening or for avoiding unpleasant odor while working in the operating room);
  • serves as a sustained mild stimulus to enhance awareness;
  • serves as a sustained pleasant scent when performing an otherwise unsavory task (garbage collection, diaper change) or job (custodial work, coroner);
  • provides easy home or spa access to herbal or aroma therapy.

Moreover, such masks could be used by competitive athletes or weekend warriors (low dose albuterol in a runner, menthol in a skier, etc). Finally, with increasing awareness of risks assumed by travelers (bird flu, XDR-TB), this product is useful to concerned air passengers or travelers in general.

Applications:

  • Medical Applications: Operating room mask for surgeons with a cold or for use during autopsies; hospital masks; low dose drug delivery for asthma attacks, hay fever, soothing pre-anesthetic facial masks, upper airway congestions, allergies;
  • Industrial Applications: Scented and/or medicinal masks for assembly line workers, custodians, dry cleaners, chemical workers, garbage collectors, and all those employees who are exposed to prolonged unpleasant odors in their workplace;
  • Amusement Applications: Travelers concerned about airborne infections; sports enthusiasts for peak performance before or during an event or for a more rapid and pleasant recovery after an event (low dose stimulant, mentholated mask); spa and holistic therapies;
  • Unpleasant Everyday Tasks: Household cleaning, pet care.

Advantages:

  • Incorporation of medicinal, herbal, fragrance to the regular facial mask
  • Unique delivery system to release the fragrance or medicinal at the time of use, thereby preserving the properties of the mask until needed by the wearer
  • Pleasant experience to wear a mask when needed or required
  • Disposable and available either through prescription (medicated mask) or over-the-counter
  • Broad spectrum of applications

Patent Status:

U.S. Patent Application pending