Cooling vest makes a difference for nurses on Covid shift, suggests study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 11, 2021

Without the vest, almost 90 per cent of those studied experienced discomfort, increased heart rate

A novel study has found that wearing cooling vests during a coronavirus shift ensures that nurses experience less heat during their work.

The study, published in the journal Temperature, suggested that during their shifts, nurses wear protective clothing for three hours in a row during which the temperature can rise to as much as 36 degrees.

The authors of the study found that due to the high level of contagiousness present with Covid-19, healthcare personnel have to work in protective clothing that is not or is barely ventilated.

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The cooling vests were originally designed for elite athletes competing at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. They were then re-developed to use for Covid-related health care.

The cooling vests for Covid-19 healthcare workers (COOLVID) study followed 17 nurses working in Covid care for two days: one day with and one day without a cooling vest. They wore the vest over their medical clothing but under their protective clothing.

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Subjective perceptions

Study measurements included core temperature and heart rate, as well as subjective measurements such as comfort and heat sensation.

The findings suggested that the participants’ core temperature increased slightly but not enormously, even while the temperature under their protective clothing did. Therefore, the cooling vest had little effect on core temperature.

However, the participants’ heart rates were a few beats per minute lower on the days they wore the cooling vests. The biggest difference was in the subjective perceptions of healthcare providers.

Co-researcher Yannick de Korte said: “Without a cooling vest, almost 90 per cent of the nurses experienced discomfort and warmth. With a cooling vest, only 20-30 per cent of the participants experienced this. They, therefore, perceived the conditions under which they have to do their work as more pleasant and comfortable.”

Published on January 11, 2021

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