Rhode Island ER nurse invents N95 mask preserver

The product officially launched Monday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –  A local emergency room nurse is hoping to protect his fellow healthcare workers with his new invention that preserves N95 masks.

Timothy Aurelio has been a nurse for 27 years. He currently works at Roger Williams Medical Center. But nothing could have prepared him for what’s happened over the past 12 months.

“The past year has been amazingly challenging to say the least. A lot of nurses out sick with Covid. A lot of nurses with burnout, caring for very critically ill patients,” said Aurelio.

When the pandemic started, PPE constraints meant N95 masks, which are not supposed to be reused, needed to be.

CDC guidelines now allow for N95s to be reused by healthcare workers up to three, even five times, according to Aurelio.

“In the height of Covid, we found that our N95 masks we’re getting crushed. They were coming to us in a brown paper bag,” explained Aurelio.

Aurelio says the idea behind distributing them and storing them in a paper bag was to promote airflow, so that if they needed to be reused, the masks wouldn’t grow bacteria.

However, it didn’t allow the mask to keep its necessary shape.

“With a mask in this integrity, it’s not going to protect you,” he explained. “And I saw their masks being stored in their duffel bags, and in their pocketbooks, and hanging from the hook next to the printer.”

That’s where the mask preserver comes in.

It’s a hard shell, medical grade plastic case for your N95 mask, infused with a special additive called Withstand, to keep it from growing any bacteria or holding on to any odor.

You can also wear it on your uniform.

Aurelio has a patent pending on his product.

“The docs at the ER at my place are wearing them, our nurses are wearing them and using them, and they’re seeing such a difference in the integrity of their mask,” said Aurelio.

Aurelio says he didn’t do it for the money. He says he saw a desperate need, right under his nose.

“I saw that my colleagues were getting sick with Covid,” he said. “If I can eliminate one of those risk factors by having a safe N95 mask that’s in good integrity, that’s why I did this.”

You can learn more about the mask preserver here.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island, Your Health