Public looks beyond face masks for personal respiratory protection as the flu and holiday season nears
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Expect to see more people walking around with tubes dangling from their faces and heads, and it won’t be because it’s Halloween. These are people who have turned to PAPR systems (Powered Air-Purifying Respirators) to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other viruses, as well as smoke and other airborne particulate matter.
Personal PAPRs are new. Industrial PAPRs, many featuring complete suits with helmets, are typically used for protection in hazardous environments. They are designed to protect the wearers, allowing them to breathe highly-filtered air; they are not, however, designed to protect those around them. Further, they’re priced for commercial settings, and consumers are also likely to resist walking around in “spacesuits” or helmets.
The JustAir personal PAPR provides the same type of personal protection but without the suit or the helmet. It instead features a soft, cloth mask that protects the user and exceeds the level of protection provided by commonly-used face masks in preventing the spread of viruses. The system provides a continuous supply of filtered air to the user, minimizing the accumulation of carbon dioxide from exhaled breath, which can cause headaches.
The growing interest in personal PAPRs might have to do with the upcoming holiday travel season and kids returning home from college. “Planes have HEPA filters that work great, but you can’t control who’s sitting close to you. Unless people sitting next to you are wearing personal protective equipment such as N95s, you remain at risk since people can be contagious while being asymptomatic,” says Dan Burnett, M.D., CEO of Theranova, the biomedical device company that developed the JustAir system. “The JustAir system will help keep people safe and give them back the ability to move around freely.”
“My husband, two daughters, and I flew from Houston to Cancun for a family vacation. We each wore a JustAir system from the time we arrived at the airport until we arrived at the resort,” says Teresa Scott, a dentist that specializes in treating sleep-disordered breathing and airway inadequacy. “For ten continuous hours, we breathed comfortably. No headaches, no lightheadedness, or panic attacks.”
The JustAir system is equipped with a mask, air tube, and a rechargeable blower pack with a 12-hour battery life; the system also features medical-grade HEPA and carbon filters. The blower can be carried in a backpack, fanny pack, or clipped to a belt to supply purified air to the cloth mask. The incoming airflow creates positive pressure to push out contaminated air through an electrostatic filter that traps 99.9% of viruses that might be exhaled.
According to Burnett, surgical and cloth masks may protect others, but they provide little protection for wearers. “It’s why the CDC recommends social distancing in addition to mask-wearing, especially in indoor settings,” he says. “N95 masks are the exception. When fitted properly, they protect users by blocking 95% of particulate, including viruses around them, but they become very uncomfortable within minutes.”
JustAir, Inc., maker of the JustAir system, is the 14th company to be spun out of Theranova, which holds 57 patents worldwide, with an additional 180 pending. Additional information is available at myjustair.com.