#scuba THE CAR SNORKEL! Creative Local Develops DIY Pandemic Device For Those Times When You Gotta Have Someone in Your Vehicle – Lost Coast Outpost

December 4, 2020 - Comment

From the beginning, there has been no shortage of resourceful efforts to reclaim the simple luxuries of that sweet old COVID-free life we all reminisce about. Humboldt local Julie Sylvia has been innovative as a matter of necessity. She’s an applied behavioral analysis (ABA) technician, and her job sometimes requires being in the car with


From
the beginning, there has been no shortage of resourceful efforts to
reclaim the simple luxuries of that sweet old COVID-free life we all
reminisce about.

Humboldt
local Julie Sylvia has been innovative as a matter of necessity.
She’s an applied behavioral analysis (ABA) technician, and her job
sometimes requires being in the car with a client. Until recently,
she wasn’t sure how to lower the risk of transmitting potentially
virus-infected droplets to or from her passenger.

She
weighed a few ideas. “I thought, ‘What can I do? Maybe I could
just take some plastic and make a little divider in my car.’ And as
I looked at my car, I thought — ‘that’s crazy hard,’” Sylvia
told the Outpost recently. “Then I thought maybe I could put
myself inside a huge trash bag and then air it out the window. And
then I’m like, ‘that sounds really dangerous.’”

The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for
this very predicament, recommending face coverings, backseating
passengers, opening the windows and using the outside air setting for
ventilation rather than the recirculated air option.

But
Sylvia and her family weren’t on board with those precautions, plus
her client isn’t comfortable with having the windows down.


 

Enter
the “Car Snorkel,” a homemade breathing device fashioned from a
snorkel, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe and some duct tape. To make
it, Sylvia stuffed a snorkel into a PVC pipe (by warming the plastics
with the help of her stovetop, but she recommends that fellow Car
Snorkel DIY-ers try a blow dryer instead) and reinforced the bind
with duct tape. The device is a few feet long, and took only 10
minutes to assemble, Sylvia said.

In
use, the invention involves inhaling through the snorkel mouthpiece
while it’s threaded out her cracked driver’s side window.
Meanwhile, Sylvia resituates her mask to cover her nose and exhales
thataway.

“If
you breathe in and out through your mouth, into the snorkel, which is
such a long snorkel, you’re going to end up breathing back in your
own air,” Sylvia explained. “Which will eventually make you
dizzy, and that’s not safe for a driver.”

Using
it takes a bit of concentration, Sylvia said.

Cons?
She can’t talk while she’s using it, plus a little water gets in
the car and in the snorkel pipe on rainy days. It also might be
embarrassing for your passenger, Sylvia warned. She’s gotten a few
funny looks here and there, but more often than that other drivers
honk or flash a thumbs-up in COVID-safety (or maybe just comedic)
solidarity.

But
the pros? “It really works!” Sylvia said. “You can feel very
confident that you’re not breathing any contaminated air.” She’s
been using the Car Snorkel for two weeks now, and highly recommends
it to others who can’t avoid commuting with folks from other
households.

Of course, the only way to guarantee safety from COVID is to stay home. Out in the world, we all know it’s best to practice social distancing and avoid indoor interactions. Obviously, neither are really possible in a car, so if you are someone who must drive with others, you should probably follow those CDC recommendations. (It should go without saying that neither the CDC nor the World Health Organization nor anyone else in authority has yet endorsed the Car Snorkel as an effective coronavirus containment device.)

Have
you dreamt up any nifty adaptations to COVID obstacles like this? If
so, we want to know! Write jacquelyn@lostcoastoutpost.com.

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