Founded in 1969, Healthmark Industries Co., a family
run business, has long been a provider of personal protec-
tion equipment (PPE), primarily for use in the device repro-
cessing areas of healthcare facilities. The product develop-
ment staff at Healthmark recently conducted one-on-one
interviews with the sterile processing workers at health-
care facilities to learn how Healthmark could improve the
design and utility of PPE. The answer was near unanimous,
“help us stay cool!” With that in mind, Healthmark devel-
oped a product line that they refer to as “Cool Aids.”
Wearing PPE is a vital safety measure when working
with surgical instruments and other medical devices con-
taminated with organic soils. Over the years, the attire
worn has become even more impervious to contaminants,
as the industry has realized the risk to workers handling
these devices. The unfortunate feature of PPE that is effec-
tive in such environments is that they trap body heat and,
as a result, are pretty darn hot to wear. Combine that with
the heat generated by the reprocessing equipment (wash-
ers, sterilizers, sinks full of heated water, etc.) and the result
are workers that are very uncomfortable. Sterile process-
ing is not the only area where staff are uncomfortable.
Professionals working in the OR & Endoscopy can be on
their feet for extended hours in a high stress setting. They
are also challenged by excessive body heat trapped by PPE
Cool Aids are products designed to manage the body
temperature from the head, neck, chest and core body.
An ideal feature is that they can be worn under the PPE.
The Cool Aids are available in beanies, skull caps, neck
wraps and vests. The combination of unique fabrics cre-
ate an evaporative temperature management system.
Evaporation through the multi-layered material creates a
cooling effect. It is the same technique the human body
uses to cool itself. They are simple to activate: start by
submerging in cool water for a minute or two allowing
the material to absorb the water; then gently squeeze the
remaining water from the Cool Aid, and don in the area it
is to be worn (e.g., neck, head, chest). These products provide cool comfort for hours, and may be used many times.
For more challenging environments, the Cool Aids vest
has been designed with cooling inserts that are refrigerated before each use. They provide the perfect solution
for extended relief where evaporative cooling alone is not
“Our department really liked the Cool Aids. They are
comfortable to wear and kept us cool for hours under our
PPE” shares Wayne Root, CS Director of a busy medical
center located in Michigan. “Cool Aids are easy to care for
by handwashing in mild soap and air drying after each use.
And the vests are machine washable.”
Keeping your staff comfortable allows them to focus on
the task at hand and better able to perform at their best.
Take time to monitor your department to see if there are
steps you can take to provide a more comfortable, produc-
Health care product
Cool Aids Win ESP #1 in Apparel
Healthmark Industries Continues with Product Innovation in the Healthcare Workplace