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When is oxygen therapy necessary?

Oxygen therapy is necessary in situations when the levels ofoxygen in the blood are decreased, which happens when the process of taking inoxygen and releasing carbon dioxide is not adequate. The goal of this therapy isto raise the levels of oxygen in tissues where these levels are significantly lowereither because of some illness, or because of some injury. Since it consists ofadministering the oxygen, it affects the heart in a positive way because itdoes not have to work with more efforts, and it also relieves the shortness ofbreath. Heart attack, pulmonary hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease, acute asthma and pneumonia are only some of the situations that requirethe use of oxygen therapy.

Oxygen therapy does not have to be provided in the hospitalsonly, because there is a possibility that allows the oxygen to be administered athome. However, in both cases, the flow rate and ventilatory minute volume are somethingthat needs to be prescribed and that the patients must not change on their own.Clinical observations, pulse oximetry and results of blood gas measurements arewhat helps to determine the dosage of supplemental oxygen.

Side effects of oxygen therapy

Even though oxygen might not seem to be dangerous, it is notfree of side effects and risks. In order to minimize the possibility of experiencingany, it is necessary to use oxygen as prescribed by the doctor. In this way,overuse will also be avoided, as well as serious problems and complications associatedwith it. Some of them are oxygen toxicity and respiratory depression, to namebut a few. Other possible side effects are anxiety, frequent headaches,drowsiness, confusion, and problems with breathing (either slow or shallowbreathing). The signs that indicate cyanosis such as blue lips or fingernailsmight also develop in patients who receive oxygen therapy, and all these symptomsrequire consultations with the doctor or sometimes even emergency medical assistance.

In cases of infants, blindness can be caused if the levels ofthe given oxygen are too high. Temporary problems with vision, along withnausea and tiredness, pain in the ear and problems with sinus are possible whenundergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but all of these symptoms will go awayafter a short time if they develop. Measures of precaution require keeping the equipment awayfrom sources of heat, including even candle flames. Sprays and other inflammableobjects should be kept away from it as well.

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