How would a better replacement for tissues look like?

post by ChristianKl · 2019-04-05T09:13:36.335Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · LW · GW · 8 comments

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    1 libero
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When one has a cold common disposable tissues are the state of the art solution for getting mucus out of one's nose.

If there's however a lot of mucus a bit of that mucus usually ends up on the hand that holds the tissue. 

This in turn makes it likely that germs end up on the hand and on objects that one touches with the hand.

If we invent a better solution to replace disposable tissues, it would be valuable for reducing the spread of infectious disease.

Does anybody have ideas?

Answers

answer by libero · 2019-04-06T14:53:48.672Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're referring to the general population I guess, so it could be a reusable device where you can blow your nose into, then a (manual?) vacuum system could suck the remaining mucus from the nostrils. In order to avoid the contact between hands and the pathogens, the device would be pressed to the nasal base, maybe with the thumb and the middle finger under the nostrils, with the index on the bridge of the nose. A size that fits in the pockets should be similar to a vaporizer pen, with mini plastic bags to throw when full, transparent in order to examine the content for medical purposes, and the bags should be rechargeable.

I can see a lot of engineering problems with that, but the function would be performed efficiently, unless I'm missing something.

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comment by Viliam · 2019-04-05T10:48:31.433Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For babies, there are baby nose vacuum cleaners (aspirators). They don't have the problem you describe. But they are impractical to take with you. The hand-powered ones don't really work well (speaking from personal experience, as a parent), and the vacuum-cleaner-powered ones would require the vacuum cleaner.

A completely different approach would be having many public places where one can wash their hands. Perhaps with free disposable tissues. (Possible counter-argument: ecological footprint.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-04-05T15:50:19.224Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I did use one of the small hand-powered one designed for babies for myself and it didn't seem to remove enough mucus.

comment by Viliam · 2019-04-05T20:45:35.170Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's the same with babies. We bought some; we threw them away. (The cleaners, not the babies.)

The vacuum ones are loud and will scare the baby for the first time, but they work like magic. Also, they are surprisingly easy to clean. But of course, impractical to take outside.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-04-06T10:50:15.119Z · score: 12 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think there would be a market for vacuum one's for babies that are cordless and designed to be taken outside, if someone would produce them?

comment by Viliam · 2019-04-07T23:00:08.354Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can only give you a generalization from one example. I wouldn't buy that, because when my kids are sick, they stay at home, or only go out shortly; so this doesn't solve a problem I would perceive to have.

Also, maybe a better solution already exist, I just didn't do a proper research.

I actually imagine that the hand-powered cleaners could be improved, to make them useful. Either increase the part you compress, or add one-way valves so that you could quickly press it repeatedly. Though at some moment they would become inconveniently big. But I assume the cordless vacuum also is kinda big.

So it's a question of how big and inconvenient device are you willing to buy to solve a problem that happens rarely (that you need to take the sick kids outside for a long walk).

comment by Raemon · 2019-04-05T21:15:49.429Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I recently got a (regular household) handheld vacuum that worked surprisingly well. Are the mucus ones you’re using cordless?

comment by Viliam · 2019-04-06T20:33:55.040Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When kids are sick, I usually don't spend a long time with them outside, so this is not a problem for me.

It's usually the adults who often need to be mobile even when sick. Personally, I am okay with the tissues.