Oxygen therapy is the provision of oxygen to assist a person suffering from any condition that requires immediate additional oxygen to maintain healthy cell function where oxygen levels have become desaturated. A range of both acute and chronic medical conditions require the administration of oxygen.
As such oxygen therapy is widely used in chronic medical situations such as severe injury/trauma as well as by many people suffering from a range of respiratory conditions requiring supplemental oxygen on a daily basis. Sufferers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cardiac conditions, asthma, and asbestosis to name a few all benefit from/require supplemental oxygen.
A person with insufficient lung function or impaired capacity to oxygenate the blood will usually be prescribed supplemental oxygen. The oxygen can be supplied by several methods including liquid oxygen – mainly used in hospitals, gas cylinder – suitable for home use and the more recent development of continuous flow oxygen machines and portable oxygen concentrators that allow much greater physical freedom to the individual.
The oxygen is delivered via either a nasal cannula – a piece of plastic tubing with two curved nasal prongs that sit in the front of the nostrils or by way of a face mask. Nasal cannulas are available in varying lengths to allow the user some freedom of movement. Face masks vary in style and design according to the condition of the person and their oxygen supplemental levels.
As always, consult your doctor/specialist as Oxygen Therapy requires a prescription.