In the fight against Ebola in Africa, an important innovation will be a great support to health workers. Scientists at California’s Stanford University have developed 'cooling' protective suits that allows Ebola fighters in high-temperature areas to stay cool enough to work long hours.
Healthcare workers in Sierra Leone have experienced debilitating heat when wearing suits that protected them from the highly infectious Ebola virus. They reported being able to work for just 20-30 minutes before overheating. The new product – a cooling protective suit – helps them work two to four times longer than they used to.
The cooling system developed by the Stanford researchers looks like a hydration pack used in sports like running or cycling. The cooling unit includes a “bladder” that contains frozen water and lies next to another holding circulating fluid. Tubes from the backpack deliver cooling fluid to various body parts.
Overheating is a serious threat to health workers in countries like Sierra Leone. It potentially puts them at risk of illnesses like heat stroke and limits their mental and physical capabilities. There may be a strong need for the new protective suit, since the new outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo that was declared on August 1.
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