Oxygen therapy is a treatment that provides your body with an extra amount of oxygen. Oxygen is used by your body to function well and, under normal conditions, it is the lungs that absorb it from the air through breathing. However, there are some diseases and disorders that can prevent you from absorbing a sufficient amount of this gas. This blog post will discuss how oxygen therapy can help with these issues in more detail!
Oxygen therapy can help you feel better and be more active. Oxygen is delivered from a source such as an oxygen concentrator or a liquid oxygen cylinder and, through a tube, reaches the lungs in one of the following ways:
Through a nasal cannula, consisting of two small plastic pour spouts, placed one in each nostril,
Through the face mask, which covers the nose and mouth, through a tube inserted into the trachea, at the base of the neck (the physician makes an incision to insert the tube). This form of oxygen administration is called transtracheal oxygen therapy.
Oxygen therapy can be performed in the hospital, in the clinic, or at home. If you need this treatment for chronic diseases, your doctor will probably prescribe home oxygen therapy.
Based on test results, such as arterial blood gases and pulse oximetry, which measure the amount of oxygen in the blood, the physician can determine the need for increased oxygen levels through oxygen therapy.
Patients may receive oxygen therapy if they are hospitalized for a serious health problem that prevents them from receiving a sufficient amount of oxygen. Usually, this type of oxygen therapy is short-term and once they are healed, the therapy will probably be discontinued.
What disorders or diseases may require Oxygen Therapy?
Among the disorders and diseases that may require short-term oxygen therapy we remember:
- Severe pneumonia. Pneumonia is the infection of one or both lungs. If severe, it causes profound inflammation of the alveoli, which cannot exchange a sufficient amount of oxygen with the blood.
- Severe asthma attacks. Asthma is a lung disease that inflames and restricts the bronchi. Most patients suffering from asthma, including many children, are able to control symptoms with confidence; however, if asthma attacks are severe, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital for oxygen therapy.
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome or bronchopulmonary dysplasia in infants born prematurely. Premature infants may suffer from one or both of these serious lung diseases. As part of therapy, they may receive oxygen through a ventilator or nasal mask with continuous positive pressure, or through a nasal cannula.
By the way, when you suffer from one of these diseases, your doctor will have to decide if you have to undergo home oxygen therapy. According to the results of the tests, the pulmonologist will indicate the characteristics of the therapy, which usually include:
- Hours of daily use of medical oxygen
- Flow rate and type of oxygen flow
- Type of supply (by cannula or mask)
Precautions during oxygen therapy
When starting oxygen treatment, especially if you are using compressed or liquid oxygen at home, you will need some training to understand how to use medical oxygen and what precautions are needed for this type of therapy. This kind of information is usually provided by the technician who will install the oxygen machine in your home. Remember that oxygen is a gas that can pose a hazard when stored, so you will need to follow specific safety rules. Although it is not explosive, it is, however, flammable.
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