How often have you sat by your child, cold compress or cloth-dipped-in-cold-water in hand, trying to bring down his or her raging fever even as you negotiate deadlines at work or ignore your household chores?
Here’s an anti-fever jacket that you can make them wear to bring the body temperature down a couple of notches in just 20 minutes.
The anti-fever jacket works on the fundamentals of refrigeration — it’s fitted with copper tubes attached to a condenser and the compressor of a 1.5-tonne air conditioner
The jacket, developed by a Chhattisgarh engineer, is a prototype at present. It works on the fundamentals of refrigeration — it’s fitted with copper tubes attached to a condenser and the compressor of a 1.5-tonne air conditioner. Besides, it is equipped with four cooling fans — the likes of which are fitted in laptops to throw the heat out. And it weighs only about 300gm.
Its creator, Pankaj Agarwal, 42, is the head of the mechanical engineering department at Bhilai’s Shri Shankaracharya Institute of Technology and Management. For about 20 years, he has been teaching — no coincidence — air conditioning and refrigeration.
He got the idea of the jacket when he came down with a high fever a few years ago. As he burned with fever, his mother ignored her household chores to sit by his side, trying to cool him down with a piece of cloth dipped in cold water. The bitter kaada (a syrup made of herbs and spices) she made him drink only irked him further. He got thinking if his adult body was in such discomfort owing to fever, how much more troublesome it must be for children. So, he decided to find a convenient alternative.
“But you’ll be spared from paracetamol. Fever will recede, 104°. You won’t have to do sponging… So, immunity improves a lot this way” — Pankaj Agarwal, maker of anti-fever jacket
Over the next three months, with the help of five of his students, he devised this wearable solution, which he hasn’t named yet but calls the anti-fever jacket. Agarwal clarifies that the jacket does not cure fever — it merely lowers the body’s temperature and alleviates discomfort.
“But you’ll be spared from paracetamol. Fever will recede, 104°. You won’t have to do sponging. You can get up, eat something, have medicine. So, immunity improves a lot this way,” he said.
Dr Parveen Dhruve, a general physician who runs a private clinic in Durg, Chhattisgarh, has tested the jacket and found it useful. He says extremely high body temperature can prove fatal, especially in children, and this jacket can save the patient in such a scenario. Also, he said it can help people avoid popping antibiotics.
Dr Parveen Dhruve, a general physician, says extremely high body temperature can prove fatal, especially in children, and this jacket can save the patient in such a scenario
Another doctor, an ENT specialist based in Gurgaon who did not want to be named, said the jacket would be particularly useful for patients with liver failure to whom paracetamol, generally used to bring down fever, can’t be prescribed. She added it can be used to treat heat stroke and febrile seizure (seizures associated with high body temperature, most commonly occurring in children less than five years old) too.
The road ahead
It cost Agarwal about Rs 14,000 to make the prototype of this jacket. Its AC-like cooling system consumes four units of electricity in an hour, resulting in a high operating cost. Agarwal said the prototype cost so much since it involved a lot of research. He’s now working on a variant of the jacket that will use a magnetic field instead of refrigeration techniques to reduce the wearer’s body temperature. And this model, he claimed, will not cost more than Rs 2,000.
Agarwal is now working on a variant of the jacket that will use a magnetic field instead of refrigeration techniques to reduce the wearer’s body temperature. This model will not cost more than Rs 2,000
Similar jackets that regulate and control the body temperature are available in the US market for $900.
Once the magnetic field prototype of the jacket is ready, Agarwal will file for a patent and start working towards its commercial production. It will need to be cleared by the The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization and the Central Licensing Authority for the healthcare sector to adopt it.
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