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Sci Rep ; 11(1): 16248, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351978


The use of close-fitting PPE is essential to prevent exposure to dispersed airborne matter, including the COVID-19 virus. The current pandemic has increased pressure on healthcare systems around the world, leading to medical professionals using high-grade PPE for prolonged durations, resulting in device-induced skin injuries. This study focuses on computationally improving the interaction between skin and PPE to reduce the likelihood of discomfort and tissue damage. A finite element model is developed to simulate the movement of PPE against the face during day-to-day tasks. Due to limited available data on skin characteristics and how these vary interpersonally between sexes, races and ages, the main objective of this study was to establish the effects and trends that mask modifications have on the resulting subsurface strain energy density distribution in the skin. These modifications include the material, geometric and interfacial properties. Overall, the results show that skin injury can be reduced by using softer mask materials, whilst friction against the skin should be minimised, e.g. through use of micro-textures, humidity control and topical creams. Furthermore, the contact area between the mask and skin should be maximised, whilst the use of soft materials with incompressible behaviour (e.g. many elastomers) should be avoided.

Computer Simulation , Masks/adverse effects , Skin Diseases/prevention & control , Face/anatomy & histology , Finite Element Analysis , Friction , Humans , Masks/standards , Skin Diseases/etiology , Skin Physiological Phenomena , User-Centered Design
PLoS One ; 15(9): e0239363, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792837


BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers around the world are experiencing skin injury due to the extended use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. These injuries are the result of high shear stresses acting on the skin, caused by friction with the PPE. This study aims to provide a practical lubricating solution for frontline medical staff working a 4+ hours shift wearing PPE. METHODS: A literature review into skin friction and skin lubrication was conducted to identify products and substances that can reduce friction. We evaluated the lubricating performance of commercially available products in vivo using a custom-built tribometer. FINDINGS: Most lubricants provide a strong initial friction reduction, but only few products provide lubrication that lasts for four hours. The response of skin to friction is a complex interplay between the lubricating properties and durability of the film deposited on the surface and the response of skin to the lubricating substance, which include epidermal absorption, occlusion, and water retention. INTERPRETATION: Talcum powder, a petrolatum-lanolin mixture, and a coconut oil-cocoa butter-beeswax mixture showed excellent long-lasting low friction. Moisturising the skin results in excessive friction, and the use of products that are aimed at 'moisturising without leaving a non-greasy feel' should be prevented. Most investigated dressings also demonstrate excellent performance.

Coronavirus Infections/complications , Lubricants/therapeutic use , Personal Protective Equipment/adverse effects , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Skin/injuries , Adult , Betacoronavirus , Biomechanical Phenomena , COVID-19 , Friction , Humans , Male , Medical Staff , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Burns ; 46(7): 1717, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733922