Did you know that around 21 percent of the air in the atmosphere is oxygen? No wonder there is enough for all the 7 billion people and billions of other animals to breathe. However, many people live with breathing disorders like lung cancer, asthma, and COVID-19, and can’t get adequate oxygen naturally. Such individuals need supplemental oxygen or oxygen therapy.
Before the advent of COVID-19 at the end of 2019, terms like oxygen concentrator or pulse oximeter were rarely used in daily conversation. Today, the story is different. People ask questions about what these machines or devices do because the situation is closer home. Most of us know someone who needed oxygen therapy in the last year or so.
We have created this article to answer the most frequently asked questions about oxygen therapy and its different types. We focus on the questions around who needs oxygen therapy, symptoms of low oxygen, and oxygen therapy indicators. We then look at pulse oximeters and provide information on the basic facts about these devices.
What Is Oxygen Therapy?
Oxygen therapy, sometimes called supplemental oxygen, is a medical treatment that delivers extra oxygen to the body when an individual cannot absorb adequate levels. This type of therapy is only administered based on a prescription from a health professional or paramedic.
Several medical conditions could make it difficult for individuals to absorb enough oxygen, including asthma attacks, COVID-19 complications, or other chronic diseases that reduce oxygen levels in the blood.
Oxygen therapy can be managed at home or within the hospital setting. It can be administered in several ways. In instances where 100% oxygen is required, the patient must wear a tight face mask. In some cases, a small tube is placed through a hole in the front of the neck. In most COVID-19 cases, oxygen is delivered to the patient through a support system known as a ventilator.