Ways to Control Oxygen Supply

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Oxygen-enhancing devices can be used in medical emergencies.
Oxygen-enhancing devices can be used in medical emergencies.

Knowledge of how to control your oxygen supply can be applied to several scenarios, ranging from medical conditions, high altitude illness or breathing exercises. Knowing how and when to utilize different oxygen supply enhancing techniques can be of wide-ranging benefits, which include giving you more energy throughout the day, increasing mental focus or possibly saving your life.

  1. Medical Emergencies

    • During medical emergencies, those who are trained in oxygen administration may increase a patient's oxygen supply by applying a breathing mask to the patient's face and turning on an oxygen supply or respirator. Other medical emergency scenarios may include trained medical professionals using oxygen administration to help calm a victim or deescalate the causes and effects of hypovolemic shock within a patient's body. In either of these situations, the amount of oxygen given to the victim is controlled through a valve on the oxygen apparatus; the valve is used by the administrator to control the rate of flow.

    Medical Conditions

    • Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, require the use of supplemental oxygen or oxygen concentrator machines that are utilized during periods of resting and sleeping. Other medical conditions, such as difficulty breathing, respiratory or cardiac problems, may require the use of supplemental oxygen through portable canisters that are carried around with an individual. As with emergency respirators, the flow-rate on these devices are controlled by the user adjusting the machine interface or the valve on the supplemental oxygen tank.

    High Altitude

    • In high altitude situations, such as adventure mountaineering or tourism in high altitude locations, there are a few methods of controlling the oxygen supply to a victim of altitude sickness. In extreme cases in mountaineering scenarios, a gamov bag may be used to temporarily increase the air pressure, and thus the oxygen supply, for a person who is experiencing severe high altitude sickness. Other strategies for increasing the oxygen content include rapidly down-climbing several thousand feet in order to access lower air pressures with more oxygen. In some cases, a helicopter evacuation may be used to rescue an individual with severe altitude illness.

    Breathing Techniques

    • Recreationally, different breathing techniques can increase the oxygen content in one's body while also producing a feeling of relaxation and relief. Some deep breathing exercises, such as those practiced during some forms of yoga involve taking a big breath, inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth in short bursts with cheeks puffing out with each exhalation. Other methods include using the fingers to pinch and close one nostril, inhaling through the nose for five seconds, holding the breath for five seconds and exhaling through the other nostril for five seconds.

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