Travel advices for asthmatic after the Iceland Eyjafjallajokul volcano eruption

“I’m traveling to London with my girl and I’d like to be prepared for any volcanic ash needs.”

Murray Kohlhaas is planning a week long trip to Europe and doesn’t want to take any chance with her asthmatic daughter.

parent see through the mask to check face seal

Clear mask allows parent to check the face for child seal easily

The volcanic dust can cause acute asthma attack if the concentration is high. In addition to the inhaler and medicine Murray purchased a transparent mask called TOTOBOBO for her daughter. She stumbled on this mask when she was reading a website call free help for cancer.

“This mask is recommended by the parents of cancer patient, and cyclists in most polluted cities use it.  I can count on it to protect my girl.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised travelers suffering from asthma and other respiratory disorders to wear masks or stay indoors to avoid potential hazards caused by the recent volcanic ash from Iceland. The effects will begin to sink in when the ash descends and falls on countries across Europe. Analysis of the ash estimated that about 25% of the particles are less than 10 microns in size, which is more dangerous because they can penetrate deeper into the lungs, according to Dr Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environment Department at WHO.

Eyjafjallajokull volcano Plume

Eyjafjallajokull volcano plume in Iceland

Travelers with condition of asthma or other respiratory disorders should seek advice from doctors and observe the following precautionary measure:

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to ash or pollution.
  • Wear a mask if need to go outside. The mask should form a good seal on your face.
  • Keep inhalers and medications at hand.
  • Wear goggles or glasses. Avoid using contact lens.
  • Keep a record of allergens in case of emergency.

Totobobo mask Review by Vivalabike from Shenzhen, China

Adrian, Willett & Mark of Viva La Bike recently post a review of Totobobo mask from Shenzhen, China.

Mark from vivalabike.com

Mark


Adrian

Adrian


Dustin

Dustin

After wearing the Totobobo mask, I honestly feel a discernible difference between the Totobobo and other lesser masks I have worn. In short, the bottom line is the way I felt during and after the ride, as well as the before and after shots of the filter. While we do not have access to technology that assesses filter effectiveness on a chemical/molecular level, the mask seemed to perform as it was intended to perform. Overall, the performance was solid, and is an excellent choice for those concerned about air quality.

Pros
Good Seal
Small Shape
Good Fit
Super lite and thin
Thin but very strong strap
Feels durable

Cons
Condensation>Wetness
Intake airflow produces a suction affect on mask

Review Testing Conditions

Air temp 25C, 70-80% humidity
Medium level of pollution report by Hong Kong Air Quality center
Ride-Streets, bike paths and sidewalks of Shenzhen

Observation:
Overall product performance was positive. Wearing the mask was fairly comfortable. The fit was good and it provided a solid seal when sufficient tension was placed on the strap. Inhalation(intake) provided a bit of a challenge as a suction affect occurs. However, during regular riding which requires normal inspiration/expiration, the suction effect is minimal. Exhalation(breathing out) was not an issue at all. Air flow outward tends to flow up through/by the eyes, which has the potential to fog glasses. Condensation within the mask tends to make the seal where the mask contacts the face, a bit sweaty. The positive benefits of the mask, perhaps outweigh a few of the minor nuances associated with wearing a mask that is of higher quality that of the N95 variety. Strictly going off of feeling and smell, when riding the bike while wearing the mask, intake of air simply felt improved. Riding my bike at least twice a day, I can really tell the difference between the way I feel post-ride as well as during. After wearing the Totobobo mask, I honestly feel a discernible difference between the Totobobo and other lesser masks I have worn. In short, the bottom line is the way I felt during and after the ride, as well as the before and after shots of the filter. While we do not have access to technology that assesses filter effectiveness on a chemical/molecular level, the mask seemed to perform as it was intended to perform. Overall, the performance was solid, and is an excellent choice for those concerned about air quality.

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Testing Totobobo mask against N95 mask

Totobobo mask is the most comfortable and advanced respirator in the non-certified respirator market. In many respects the patented design is revolutionary. The original design cater to the needs of common users, who do not have access to professional fit-test facility and yet need the assurance of a well fitted respirator.

preparing Totobobo mask for test

Preparing Totobobo masks for test

A different approach
To provide assurance of good fit, we made the reusable mask with transparent plastic, so that users can see through it and check the face-seal. We make the mask customizable, so that users can trim it to fit their face. The thin and flexible plastic is highly adaptive and easily follows the contour of the face, require very little force to hold on to the face. The strap is exceptionally flexible and comfortable to use. There is silver ion anti-virus additive in the mask to make reuse more safe. all these sounds great on paper, but how does it perform in real life?

testing Totobobo mask

Testing Totobobo mask

Testing the masks
To validate the protection of Totobobo, we sent the masks to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong to test the effectiveness by professional fit-test facilities.
A randomized controlled cross over study was carreid out to compare the efficacy of Totobobo with fitted tested N95 masks (1860 or 1860s or 1862, 3M). The test was conducted in 22 healthy volunteers. The key findings are:

– The pass rate (filtration factor >100) of Totobobo mask was over 73%, while majority of (N95) masks fitting less than 40% of the test population
– The average filtration factor of fitted tested N95 masks is higher (193) then Totobobo mask (135).
– In terms of comfort, 65% subjects preferred Totobobo mask over their fitted tested N95 masks

Quote from the report:

“..Using the Totobobo mask in the panel of masks to be tested may reduce the number of masks that need to be tested before an adequate fit is found. This potential advantage, however, will need to be balanced against the time taken to trim the Totobobo mask to size. Furthermore, in situations where there is insufficient time to carry out fit testing use of the Totobobo mask may be a useful stopgap measure. In addition to this, the fact that the Totobobo mask is designed to be reusable may provide significant advantage. This would minimize the problems associated with the need to stockpile disposable masks and the difficulty of obtaining supplies in an epidemic. However, prior to concluding the mask is re-usable it is necessary to test the effect of sterilization processes on the mask. It is conceivable that such processes may make the mask less pliable and the fit less good. Moreover it is important to ensure that the process of changing the HEPA filters does not contaminate the user with infectious particles.

In terms of comfort 65% of subjects preferred the Totobobo mask over the N95 mask (1860, 1860s 3M). While the confidence interval straddles 50% this may be due to our small sample size. Comfort is an important issue when masks need to be worn for long periods of time. Greater comfort may translate into greater compliance with proper use of the mask and hence greater protection in clinical use. The experience of our ICU during SARS suggests that compliance is an important factor in determining the risk of occupational infection.”

The bottom line
If your have access to fit-test facility and have time to conduct fit test, the best option is fit-tested N95 mask. Otherwise, Totobobo mask provides reasonable good protection even if you don’t have access to fit-test facility or there is no time for fit test.

fit-test result from one of the subject

fit-test result from one of the subject

Source:
A randomized controlled pilot study to compare filtration factor of a novel non fit tested HEPA filtering facemask with a fit-tested N95 mask.
by Dr Sylvia S.W. Au, Dr Charles D. Gomersall, Patricia Leung and Dr Peggy T.Y. Li.
Dept of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong.

Retail outlet in Japan

Cycleland is a bike shop along Tinjing Bashi-suji in Osaka city. There are two shops of the same names located next to each other. The one under the train station bridge sells children and common bicycles. The other one just outside of the bridge sells high-end minivelo and fixies. Many cool accessories and Totobobo mask is sitting right in the middle of all the cools stuffs.

Naniwa Houkan Sport-Kan
1-25, Naniwa, Kita-Ku
Osaka city 530-0022, Japan
Tel: 06-6375-3374
Fax: 06-6376-2216

Cycleland Naniwa Houkan

Cycleland, Totobobo reseller in Osaka, Japan


Totobobo mask on the shelf

Totobobo mask in Cycleland, Osaka, Japan

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For resell inquiry in Japan, please contact:
fi corporation
Room 108, 3-1-17, Sakae-machi, Takarazuka-city,
Hyogo 665-0845, Japan.
Tel : +81-797-83-6730
Fax : +81-797-83-6758
e-mail : fi_corporation (at) work.odn.ne.jp
web : http://ficorp.co.jp/