Corona can be fought with oxygen cylinders not just ventilators: Experts

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Ventilators have emerged as the last resort to save lives across the world even as the global corona toll has crossed 10 lakhs. Meanwhile, India too is racing to secure enough ventilators to sustain the outbreak with thousands of procurement orders already on its way and domestic production in full swing.  

But critical care experts believe the non-invasive oxygen therapy may be equally if not more effective than ventilation. Doctors are now increasingly reluctant to put patients with breathing difficulties straight onto mechanical ventilators as opposed to the initial days of the pandemic when they relied heavily on the machines for critical patients.

Ventilators are machines that take over breathing and require tubes to be inserted into the lungs of a patient through the throat via a process called intubation. Oxygen therapy, meanwhile, is a non-invasive procedure in which oxygen is supplied through a face mask or through a nasal cannula (tube). 

Government hospital may soon have oxygen lines at beds

Oxygen therapy is proving to be useful for severe cases of COVID-19 and the government is planning to set upwards with direct oxygen supply to beds in Osmania General Hospital, Gandhi Hospital and Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.

The wards would be called as Oxygen wards and making this might take a month. At present oxygen cylinders are been used in hospitals.

The only problem noted was with regard to oxygen supply in view of the larger demand. A senior government official said the supply is not consistent and there is consistent and limited capacity in treating the patient. “Only five percent of severe cases need ventilator support whereas the rest can be manage with oxygen therapy. Anticipating, minimizing the risk of capacity building is not being carried out.” he told.

According to the government the decision was late but was finally made. Setting up an oxygen plant in the hospital requires huge investment and land.

Home treating COVID patients:

With home treatment facility provided for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, the supply of portable oxygen cylinders is also being recommended by experts. It is priced between Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 50,000 weighing between gives litres to 20 litres too.

Dr. Ahad Ali said, “It’s always on safe to bring the oxygen cylinder home for those who are under home treatment beforehand; as they might need it and it is always better than ventilators.”

Furthermore, there are emergency oxygen cylinder providers in the city. They are a call away in need of an emergency.

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