Patent application title: Disposable Emesis Bag with Comfort Features
Sheila P. Barry (Los Gatos, CA, US)
Cynthia Lynn Obuchi (Alameda, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D3010FI
Class name: Flexible bags end structure (e.g. bottom)
Publication date: 2012-06-07
Patent application number: 20120141051
A disposable emesis bag comprising a soft cushioning material at the
opening of the bag to improve the user's comfort while vomiting. The soft
cushioning material can be attached only to the portions of the bag that
come into contact with the user's nose or chin, or around the entire
perimeter of the opening of the bag.
1. An emesis bag, comprising: a disposable bag having a hollow interior,
a bottom, and an open end, with said bottom sealed; cushioning material
attached to said open end, said cushioning material at least partially
coming into contact with the user's face when the emesis bag is in use.
2. An emesis bag as in claim 1, wherein said cushioning material is attached to the entire circumference of said open end.
3. An emesis bag as in claim 1, wherein said cushioning material is attached only to certain portions of said open end.
4. An emesis bag as in claim 1, wherein said cushioning material is a polyethylene foam.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 The present application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/419,229, filed Dec. 2, 2010, and U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/486,616, filed May 16, 2011, which are both incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates generally to fluid containment bags and particularly to a disposable bag for collection and disposal of emesis.
 There are many illnesses and conditions that cause vomiting. For example, pregnancy often causes morning sickness; cancer treatment often causes vomiting; and many healthy people become nauseated to the point of vomiting in moving vehicles such as buses or airplanes. In many cases, the episode of vomiting can occur in a public place with no way for the sufferer to get to a bathroom, which adds humiliation to the distress of being sick.
 To help people cope with this problem, many types of emesis bags exist on the market. Typically, these are disposable paper or plastic bags that can contain the vomitus long enough to enable the patient to get to a suitable disposal location. Such a bag can be placed in the seat pocket of an airplane for a passenger, or carried on one's person if one is pregnant or afflicted with an illness that causes frequent vomiting. The most common design for a disposable emesis bag is a plastic-coated paper bag with a rectangular bottom; this is the typical air-sickness bag. Some such bags, such as the one described in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/704,606 to Longo, come bundled with a kit that includes breath mints, moist towelettes, and other materials that can help a person clean themselves up after having vomited.
 One of the issues that is not addressed by the disposable emesis bag design is the fact that holding a typical disposable emesis bag to one's face is not very comfortable for the user's nose or chin. While there are emesis basins and containers in existence that have specially shaped openings that conform to the user's face, those basins and containers are typically larger, less portable, reusable, and thus more suited for hospital use than for portability and easy disposal. For example, U.S. application Ser. No. 09/764,580 to Parker discloses an emesis container that has a funnel-shaped mouth area for conforming to the user's face. While such a funnel is more comfortable for the user than the opening of a paper bag, the container disclosed in the Parker application is too cumbersome to carry or to tuck into a seat pocket of an airplane.
 A need therefore exists for a disposable emesis bag that is more comfortable to hold to one's face than a typical air sickness bag, but that is not more cumbersome, complex, or significantly more expensive to manufacture than a typical air sickness bag.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention improves the comfort of a typical emesis bag by adding cushioning material to the opening of the bag for the user's nose and chin. The emesis bag of the present invention is a foldable paper or plastic bag, or a paper bag with a plastic coating, comprising cushioning material attached to the opening of the bag. The cushioning material can be a strip of foam or other soft material that feels more comfortable than the edge of a paper bag. Since the cushioning material is compressible, it does not add a lot of bulk to the bag when it is folded.
 There are several advantages to having the cushioning material at the opening of the bag. First of all, an uncushioned plastic or paper bag is simply not very comfortable when held to the face. Secondly, the uncushioned open end of a plastic or paper bag, held to the face, can leave scratches or pressure marks on the user's nose or chin. For users who vomit frequently, this adds unpleasantness to what is already a very unpleasant experience. Finally, the open end of a plastic or paper bag does not provide a good seal against the user's face, thus allowing distressing sounds and odors to escape to a much greater degree.
 The cushioning material can be foamed plastic, foamed rubber, or any other material known to those skilled in the art as a material that is soft, light, nontoxic, and easily compressible.
 In one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the cushioning material is attached only to two areas of the opening of the bag--the areas likely to come in contact with the user's nose and chin. The cushioning material is wide and thick enough to prevent the user's nose or chin from coming into contact with the bag's edge. Since the cushioning material is only placed at two locations on the bag's opening, it does not add a lot of bulk to the bag when it is folded.
 In another non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the cushioning material is attached to the entire circumference of the opening of the bag. This provides greater comfort to the user's face, since the cushioning material can also contact the user's cheeks; however, the extra cushioning material adds more bulk to the bag when it is folded.
 The emesis bag can also comprise other features such as an adhesive or Velcro strip for sealing the bag after use, an attached pocket for clean-up items such as a moist towelette or breath-freshening mints, moisture-absorbing material on the inside of the bag, or other features known in the art to improve the comfort and functionality of a disposable emesis bag.
LIST OF FIGURES
 FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of the present invention, comprising a separate cushion for the nose and a separate cushion for the chin.
 FIG. 2 shows an alternate embodiment of the present invention, comprising cushioning material all around the mouth of the bag.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of the present invention. Bag 100 is a gusseted foldable bag with a rectangular bottom, preferably made of plastic-coated paper. The bag is made in such a way as to be impervious to water or other fluids for a long enough time period to enable the user to dispose of the bag and its contents safely. Velcro strips 110 enable the user to seal the bag after use. Gussets 120 and 130 are partially folded as mountain folds rather than valley folds so that the opening of the bag can better fit the user's face.
 Cushions 140 and 150 are thin strips of soft material that are securely attached to gussets 120 and 130. In the preferred embodiment, the soft material is a polyethylene foam. When the bag is in use, cushion 140 contacts the user's nose and cushion 150 contacts the user's chin, or vice versa; this prevents the user's nose or chin from coming into contact with the edge of the paper bag. When the bag is folded, the cushions 140 and 150 are folded into the gusset; due to the compressibility of the material from which they are made, they do not add significant bulk to the folded bag.
 FIG. 2 shows an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In that embodiment, cushion 160 is one strip of soft material that is securely attached all around the opening of the bag 100. When the bag is in use, the cushion 150 contacts the user's nose, chin, and cheeks; this provides more comfort for the user. Furthermore, due to the fact that the cushioning material fills more of the airspace between the user's face and the edge of the bag, distressing sounds and odors are less likely to be perceptible. When the bag is folded, cushion 160 is folded into the gusset, similarly to the cushions in FIG. 1.
Patent applications in all subclasses END STRUCTURE (E.G. BOTTOM)