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Smart Labels Alert When to Change Face Masks

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 07 Jan 2021
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Image: Time and temperature sensitive labels protect PPE users (Photo courtesy of Insignia Technologies)
Image: Time and temperature sensitive labels protect PPE users (Photo courtesy of Insignia Technologies)
Novel pigment technology indicates when a disposable face mask has reached the end of its lifespan, or when a re-usable mask requires to be changed.

Developed by Insignia Technologies (Newhouse, United Kingdom), the versatile time temperature indicator (TTI) labels are designed to change color in response to changing levels of CO2 or temperature, or over a pre-calibrated time period. The TTI labels are activated when the packs are opened, and the label is adhered to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as aprons, masks, and more.

As well as adapting its color changing labels for use on face masks and other PPE, the company has also modified a version of the label for medical instruments and devices, such as endoscopes, which require replacement after a defined timeframe. The technology helps to monitor this timeframe, allowing staff to observe, check, and replace a medical instrument or device appropriately. The label can thus ensure the safe use of medical devices, while helping to prevent infection.

“Hospital staff and others in medical settings are required to wear masks at all times while at work, so it’s important that they remember to change their masks regularly in accordance with the suggested time frame,” said David Kilshaw, CEO of Insignia Technologies. “The same guidelines are relevant for those visiting hospitals for extended periods to receive treatment. By including our innovative label technology on masks, we can ensure that PPE is being used responsibly and isn’t being worn for too long, or thrown away too quickly.”

The recommended maximum time to wear a mask is typically 4-6 hours. In medical settings, face masks and coverings are mandatory, but many healthcare staff conduct working shifts of up to 12 hours at a time. Furthermore, hospitals have outpatients spending several hours in hospitals receiving treatment. With no current regulations in place to ensure that mask wearers are consistently changing their face coverings, the TTI label solution can help ensure the safety of all.

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