By Kausar Bibi, Chief Operating Officer, The Triple 1 Group UK
Face masks have become an everyday item for many of us in the past year. During the Covid-19 pandemic there have been advances in the effectiveness of masks and our knowledge of what types of masks are suitable for different situations and how comfortable they are to wear for long periods.
Yet despite their ubiquity, there are plenty of gaps in our knowledge about face masks. Improving this knowledge and making better quality masks will help protect healthcare staff, patients, and the public as well as create better value for money.
Two areas for improvement are masks for people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and constantly developing technical standards for breathable, and effective transparent masks.
Little research has been done into what I know is a common problem: masks that fit poorly for people from BAME backgrounds, sometimes partly due to facial hair and headwear used for religious and cultural purposes. One-size fits all approach doesn’t work and must change. The bulk of re-usable and disposable face masks often fit poorly for people from BAME backgrounds, tests show.
There is growing awareness that transparent, breathable face masks can help healthcare and care workers communicate better and lessen the anxiety some mask wearers feel.
A transparent face mask technical specification was published by NHS England on 1st April 2021. Agreeing a CE certified technical standard for transparent face masks is crucial if they are to be widely used. Healthcare providers have duty of care to their workers and patients.
Triple 1 Group, a manufacturer, supplier and retailer of high-quality face masks made in the United Kingdom, provides solutions to these problems. Triple 1 Group has created a transparent face mask, thinking on face masks and their future.
We have done some initial small scale and qualitative research into transparent face masks and whether UK healthcare and charity workers think they are a good idea. The short answer was yes.
Finally, a brief thank you. When researching and writing this paper, I have been helped by Oxford University Innovation.
You can see our Transparent Face Mask here.