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Caregiver creates headbands to mitigate ear soreness

Lauren Jones, Clinical Resource Nurse on the Ortho-Neuro-Surgical team at Rapid City Hospital, always knew deep down that she wanted to take care of people. That’s why she decided to become a nurse. Lauren is one of our thousands of caregivers and physicians working tirelessly to care for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caring for one’s community as a health care worker often comes with long, stressful hours, especially during a disease outbreak. And due to COVID-19, patient care professionals are now required to wear a mask throughout their entire shift. One issue many caregivers have started to notice is ear breakdown, an irritation and/or soreness on that backs of the ears that occurs when one wears a mask for hours at a time.

Lauren saw idea on social media for headbands that help alleviate the irritation and pressure on the ears, and she decided to try making some. The headbands allow caregivers to strap their masks around buttons instead of their ears. She’s made about 20 headbands so far, selling them for just a few dollars each.

“It wasn’t my original idea, but I have a bunch of headbands and buttons, so I made myself one,” she said. “I started making more and selling them to my coworkers, and it took off from there.”

Lauren said she could make more headbands depending on the demand. If others are interested in making their own headbands, she’s willing to share her process. She mentioned that it works well to sew the buttons onto the headbands while watching television or relaxing.

In all of the anxiety and uncertainty with COVID-19, one positive Lauren has observed is the way her team has grown closer.

“I’ve seen some really great teamwork because we’re all in this together,” she said. “Everyone is coming together to help and support one another. I think it’s really brought us closer together.”

Thank you to Lauren and others who have shared ideas like this that give us a little bit of comfort as we navigate these times.

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