There's a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff throughout the world. A team of anesthesiologists from the Haaglanden Medical Centre in the Netherlands came up with a clever solution to the problem. They took a snorkle mask and combined it with an HME bacteria and virus filter to create makeshift PPE. The Dutch team made the whole project open source. You can read more about it here.
Our goal was to replicate the Dutch solution by using the materials we had on hand or that were readily available in the US. We tried to reduce the number of steps required, simplify the materials, and create a process that anyone could replicate. Here's how we made it, but first the disclaimer.
This is not a certified PPE product. No scientific air leakage testing was performed and we are not making any safety claims. You should always use certified PPE products, if you have access to them. We are sharing this information to give you an idea what could be done if protective equipment is not available.
Parts we used
- Snorkel mask with removable snorkle (full details below).
- Closed cell foam noodle. Most pool noodles are made form closed cell foam. It's very important to use air-tight foam.
- HME bacteria and virus filters.
- Duct tape.
It's important to get a snorkel mask that doesn't have the snorkle attached.
- We tested WSTOO Full Face Snorkel Mask and TINMIU Full Face Snorkel Mask. Both worked well with our solution even though the tube bases were different shapes and sizes (round and oval).
- We also tested Greatever Snorkel Mask Foldable Panoramic View Full Face Snorkeling Mask which did not work because its air tube is too wide and the snorkle is not removable.
Please note that in the photos, we used regular HME filters but the HME bacteria and virus filters should work the same way.
- Cut a 3 inch piece of foam pool noodle.
2. Stretch out the hole on one end of the pool noodle to fit the air tube of the snorkel mask. Attach it straight to the mask.
3. Fit the filter into the other side of the pool noodle. Make sure it's a good fit. If it's loose, try wrapping a thick rubber band around the filter (see image above).
4. Use a generous amount of duct tape to secure all the pieces together. We used thinner strips at both ends to secure.
Thank you to the team at Haaglanden Medical Centre for their creativity in finding this solution and their generosity in sharing it.