Nearly a year into the pandemic, we’re more than familiar with personal protective equipment. The majority of us are only required to wear masks in public places for short periods of time, but protocol for clinicians is much more cumbersome. A recent Medgadget article discussed a new cooling vest that is helping clinicians in COVID clinics stay cool during long shifts.
The vests were originally designed to aggressively cool elite athletes before or after physical exertion. Since COVID care involves long-term use during healthcare activities, the cooling power of the vests needed to be modified to work slower and longer. The vests, which are stored in a refrigerator prior to use, consist of 36 pockets that hold a phase change material in a thermoplastic polyurethane shell. Though a study found that the impact on the wearer’s core body temperature was minimal, nurses who wore the vests had lower heart rates during their shifts, suggesting they were more relaxed.