There has been a lot of media attention to the swine flu vaccine lately. A third of parents oppose the idea of flu jab for their kids, according to a poll early this month. Parents are concerned about potential side effects. If many parents with healthy kids are concerned, one can imagine the stress on parents having kids with a medical condition. They certainly don’t want to take any chances.
In order to provide some protection while avoiding the vaccine, some parents found Totobobo mask when they are searching for a small fitting mask for their children. Some of these children are going through cancer treatments and therefore are vulnerable to airborne viruses or other pathogens. I notice one of these parents, Debbie Witter, actually put up a website called Free Help For Cancer to share her experience, including the frustration, learning and joys, of their journey searching for a better cure for Kayla, her 7 years old girl.
Let Debbie’s own words to explain her intend:
Our 7-year-old daughter, Kayla, was diagnosed with Leukemia on the 4th of January 2008. Suffice it to say that our lives were turned upside down by this devastating news. To make matters worse it soon became evident that there was no simple path to follow and no easy answers.
It is my hope that the information and discoveries I share on this website will lighten the burden for others who may be going through similar experiences. Please join us in our ongoing journey in dealing with this dreaded disease.
We’ve got tips from our India connection 3 days ago about the Swine flu (H1N1) outbreak in Pune.
“The swine flu made its entry India in Pune. Its only a matter of time before it surfaces in rest of the country. I foresee a huge need for Totobobo masks in India.” Our connection mentioned in one of his email.
This statement is also confirmed by visitor’s comments and the spike of demand from India over the last couple of days. We want to make it easy for India customers to obtain Totobobo mask for their protection, especially for children. We geared up our offer. The special offer at the end of this post is only available to customers ordering from India.
Totobobo mask now comes with 96% filter for better protection
The Totobobo is the world’s first customisable respiratory mask.
The swine flu that’s sweeping North America and Europe might have you rifling through your cupboards for the face masks you bought six years ago. While most of us simply chucked them into some cabinet or drawer after the Sars outbreak, one man was motivated by the fact that A: The N95 plastic masks are uncomfortable, and B: children could only wear surgical masks and these didn’t filter out airborne viruses.
Totobobo is made with a special blended plastic which is soft enough to comply comfortably to the contours of the face, but not too soft that it touches the mouth.
Product designer Francis Chu put on his thinking cap, after encountering these problems in 2003. ‘As a father of two young children, I was really concerned about this. The challenge that presented itself was clear – to come up with a mask that would fit not just adults but children, and at the same time feel comfortable,’ he explains.
Being a product designer, he was therefore sensitive to user issues and ergonomic requirements. ‘Although I don’t have medical training, I have been involved in designing for disabled children,’ he says. ‘I studied the principle for respiratory protection in different fields, including the medical. I also asked advice from my friends working in the hospitals,’ he adds.
To fund this project, Mr Chu sold his car, trading it in for a bicycle for transport. He started creating hundreds of prototypes using paper first, to find a shape that would best fit various face sizes.
It took six months before he came up with a final design, and he filed an initial patent for it in 2004. That was the genesis of Totobobo (Mandarin for transparent (toto) and protection (bobo)). From then on, it was a matter of getting it to the market, which Mr Chu did – and in no better time as well – earlier this year.
Having a snug fit is important because if it doesn’t fit, you’re not fully protected from contaminated air.
Totobobo is now the world’s first customisable respiratory mask, designed to fit all face shapes, which is also child-friendly.
Having a snug fit is important, he stresses, because if it doesn’t fit, it means you’re not fully protected from contaminated air. This defeats the purpose of wearing a mask, he points out.
‘Current respirator solutions require fit-tests to ensure that the mask fits the individual’s face, which isn’t a realistic requirement for most people,’ explains Mr Chu. In terms of fit, Totobobo is made with a special blended plastic which is soft enough to comply comfortably to the contours of the face, but not too soft that it touches the mouth. The mask doesn’t contain silicon or latex, but can be washable.
On both sides are filtering material imported from Germany, which is able to block 94 per cent of very fine particles including bacteria and germs. ‘If a higher level of protection is needed, you can put two layers of filters together and that will bring the filtration efficiency up to 99 per cent, comparable to N99 masks,’ says Mr Chu.
The good thing is that putting on the mask won’t make you look like a SWAT team member. ‘My intention was to design a mask for normal people and I wanted to create something that would not look too odd when worn in public places, such as a crowded bus during the flu season,’ he explains.
The current swine flu scare is certainly going to see sales of Totobobo go up, but even before this scare, Singapore-based Dream Lab One (the company that Hong Kong-born Mr Chu and his wife, Sharon Li, started) had been selling the mask online, and it has been bought by consumers from over 20 countries.
Among the target audience are cyclists and asthma sufferers, as well as travellers who need to block out both polluted air and other various irritants.
If you’re checking through your mask supplies, it’s time to get up to date with a Totobobo mask. Most likely, the surgical masks from the 2003 Sars days would be unusable, as the straps would have disintegrated into pieces. I should know since I unearthed mine this week.