Newswise — “CARE MASK”, made possible by Chula Medical Innovation Center (CMIC), Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, is an innovative hand-free cold compress mask for thyroid cancer patients, and those who have undergone dental surgery.
From her observation of thyroid cancer patients undergoing radioiodine therapy, Assoc. Prof. Kanaungnit Kingpetch, M.D., Professor of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University noted the problems these patients faced and developed “CARE MASK” a hand-free cold compress mask that works on both salivary glands at the same time. The cold compress will help relieve the pain and swelling that occurs after the radioiodine therapy.
The innovation’s beginning
Radioiodine therapy is an effective treatment for most thyroid cancers, but there can be side effects. A common side effect is salivary glands inflammation because the radiation is excreted through the salivary glands, resulting in pain, swelling, and sometimes dry mouth. The side effects can cause discomfort and difficulty for patients to swallow food, chew, or talk. A dry mouth can also lead to cavities and oral infections.
“Cold compress can help thyroid cancer patients with salivary glands inflammation. Before, patients had to use both their hands to keep the cool gel compress around the salivary glands. So, we developed a “CARE MASK” cold compress mask that allows patients to conveniently apply cold compresses to both painful salivary glands without using their hands and they can go on performing other activities while having the cold compress on.”
In addition to thyroid cancer patients, “CARE MASK” is also good for those who have undergone surgery on the jaws and chin, or dental surgery, e.g. wisdom teeth extraction. Patients can apply a cold compress to the desired areas, i.e. jaws, chin, gum, and teeth to reduce pain and swelling.
Design for quality of life
The “CARE MASK” cold compress mask was specially designed to meet patients’ needs and for increased ease of use. The mask has an inner compartment for a cold pack. This allows the patients to wear the mask while cold compressing the salivary glands, jaw, chin, gum, and teeth handsfree. It lets the patient perform other activities, like eating or talking normally.
“We designed the “CARE MASK” to be easy to wear, easy to breathe through, and comfortable while wearing. To use, just put the cold pack in the freezer for 45-60 minutes, then put the pack in the inner compartment of the “CARE MASK” before wearing it. Use a cold compress for 10-15 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours until the pain and swelling get better.”
The innovative “CARE MASK” cold press mask is made possible through cooperation from many sectors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kanungnit said.
“We received cooperation from CMIC and Unisearch for support and coordination. Production support was given by Saha Pathana Inter-Holding Public Company Limited while manufacturing support came from Thai Wacoal Public Company Limited. Asst. Prof. Dr. Intira Phrompan, Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University provided advice on packaging design.”
Future expansion of the cold compress mask
At present, the “CARE MASK” cold compress mask has been petty patented by the Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce and has received favorable responses from patients. However, sales channels are still limited and the product is only available at the “Chula Care” elderly health products shop, 1st floor, Sor Tor Building, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.
“Another mask that has already applied for a petty patent is a hand-free cold compress mask for nose and cheeks which is an extension from the cold compress mask for the salivary glands and teeth, designed to be used for people who have had nose surgery and laser work done on the face. The next project is the second generation and improved “CARE MASK” mask. The CMIC has already agreed to give support. Any company or manufacturer interested in cooperation in product development or distribution, please contact Chula Medical Innovation Center, Faculty of Medicine, Chula, Tel. 0-2649-4000 extension 3686 or email [email protected],” Assoc. Prof. Kanaungnit concluded.
The cold compress mask “CARE MASK” is available in two sizes: M for women and L for men, for 220 baht per piece at Chula Care Elderly Health Products Shop, 1st Floor, Sor Tor Building, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.