Oxygen Cylinders in Emergency Preparedness and Response
Supplemental oxygen therapy is known to be an emergency medication, and this medication has been really successful in saving thousands of lives since its advent. The use of oxygen therapy or compressed gas in an oxygen cylinder in a hospital setting is widely seen. It is seen to be vital in surgery, trauma, heart failure, asthma, pneumonia, and newborn life-saving cases.
Alone, pneumonia has caused over 800000 deaths worldwide. It is seen with oxygen therapy about 40% of the reduction in deaths of pneumonic patients is seen with simple oxygen therapy.
The COVID’19 pandemic has better introduced the world to emergency oxygen facilities than it has ever seen in the world in the past decades. The need for oxygen cylinders accelerated to as large as 1.1 million in developing countries.
The Wonders of Oxygen
Immediate oxygen therapy can save a life. It does so by improving oxygen flow between the lungs and the blood.
The better the oxygen flow, the better the cellular capability to survive the body crisis and the discomfort that follows it. Though administrating oxygen is a life-saving act, it may turn out to be daunting if you fail to understand the basics.
Let’s learn how to administer oxygen in an emergency situation while keeping the self and the attendants calm.
When to Administer Oxygen in Emergency Situations?
Your critical analysis as a healthcare professional, paramedical staff, or non-medical personnel will help you administer the oxygen at the right time to save a life.
Do consider the following before administering the oxygen:
1) A normal breath rate per minute is between 12-20. If a person is found gasping for air and has breaths lesser than 12 a minute, you can safely administer the oxygen.
2) A child has a faster breathing rate of 15 to 30 breaths per minute. If it breaths less than 15, you can administer the oxygen.
3) If an infant breathes less than 25 breaths a minute, you can administer oxygen.
4) If a person is in cardiac arrest, you can go for cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation along with a supplemental oxygen therapy if they regain consciousness. Immediate transfer to an emergency setting is required.
5) Several medical conditions like cardiac arrest, ketoacidosis, seizures, and asthmatic attack make supplemental oxygenation necessary.
How to Administer Oxygen in Emergency Situations?
Administering oxygen, as said earlier, may be daunting, especially if you haven’t done it before. Don’t worry. Let’s learn the process step the step, so God forbid, if you encounter an emergency next time, and you may handle it way well.
Step # 1 – Prepare the Cylinder
The oxygen cylinder must be ready to deliver the oxygen to the patient. It means it must be connected to an oxygen delivery device. You must ensure that the space around you is very safe and has no combustible material nearby. Never use the cylinders around the flames, oils, and greases. Also, ensure the cylinder is secured in a cart from all sides.
Step # 2 – Turn the Cylinder On
Adjusting the flow rattle is mandatory when using a flowmeter with the delivery device. The delivery device could be any, like a nasal cannula or an oxygen mask. The flow rate for the nasal cannula is usually between 1 to 6 liters per minute, while the oxygen masks can transfer up to 15 liters per minute. For rates greater than 15 liters per minute, one must use bag-valve-mask resuscitators.
Step # 3 – Make Sure That the Oxygen Flows To the Patient
This can be ensured by considering the hissing sound which is produced when air moves through a closed delivery system.
Step # 4 – Secure the Delivery Device
This must be taken into consideration in order to allow the patient to recover soon. Secure it with a masking tape or any other means that are available to you at your place. Make sure you follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
When the human body is unable to extract enough oxygen through the lungs to maintain the blood-oxygen level, there is no other trick to make it tick. A patient needs an oxygen supply only in extreme conditions; there is no shortcut. Oxygen is a life-saving drug in a lot of medical conditions.