The COVID-19 is most commonly spread in the aerosolized form. When a person coughs or sneezes, the rapid flow of air sends small water droplets filled with viral pathogens from the lining of the lungs into the air, spreading the virus to others nearby. This also occurs when providing positive pressure breathing support with CPAP and BiPAP machines, and when performing incubation with a ventilator. A personal negative pressure hood can be used to contain the airborne virus and ensure healthcare workers can safely provide high quality care. Such a hood can be made using an assembly of readily available components and parts, e.g., a large plastic container to enclose a person’s head/face, a duct connected to a hole in the plastic container, a fan connected at the open end of duct to create negative pressure in the plastic container, and an appropriate filter (e.g., HEPA) to contain the virus.
The initial prototype used a modified plastic storage bin, a dryer hose, and a computer fan to pull exhaled air away from a patient. To avoid the need to develop a new supply chain, we centered on a novel idea to transform a salon hair dryer into a personal negative pressure hood. The MCRL COVID-19 task force worked directly with a manufacturer to reverse the direction of the blower, causing air to be pulled through the hood, away from the patient sitting under the dryer dome. The device exhausts safely into the room by passing the air through a replaceable HEPA grade filter which has been added to the dryer unit. These personal negative pressure hoods can be quickly and effectively deployed to protect healthcare workers and non-COVID-19 patients in hospital settings, e.g., in ICUs, waiting rooms, during transfer from containment areas to diagnostic imaging rooms, etc.