Covid-19 & Oxygen

Covid-19 & Oxygen

Data from the World Health Organization suggests that while 80% of Covid-19 cases are mild or moderate, approximately 15 % of the cases are severe and will requiring oxygen therapy and 5% will be critically ill requiring ICU treatment. While oxygen is all around us, we often forget it is also a life saving medicine. For the individuals facing severe cases of the novel coronavirus, medical oxygen is a key treatment that can save their lives.

What is Covid-19

Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. And while There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory illnesses such as the cold, Covid-19 is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2  or SARS-CoV-2. 

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported, from mild symptoms to severe illness and even death. People who have mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 are usually home quarantined and are given symptomatic treatment. According to Yale Medicine, when the virus that causes COVID-19, enters the body, it typically attaches to cells in the upper airway. This triggers an immune response that causes inflammation, leading to symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and fever.

Severe Cases of Covid-19

In some more severe cases, the virus travels beyond the upper airway, moves through the lungs, and ends up in the tiny air sacs of the lungs. When this occurs, COVID-19 can lead to ARDS(Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). ARDS typically sets in about eight days after the start of initial symptoms. Certain risk factors increase the probability of developing ARDS in people with COVID-19, including advanced age, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

It is important to note, that not all the cases of acute respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 is ARDS. In some cases, COVID-19 causes pneumonia where oxygen deprivation is difficult to detect since the patients do not experience any noticeable breathing difficulties, hence causing a condition which is termed as “silent” hypoxia.

Oxygen Uses

For the 15-20 % of Covid-19 patients where cases are severe including ARDS, hypoxia or silent hypoxia and pneumonia treatment typically includes providing breathing support and increasing blood oxygen levels in which case, oxygen therapy is recommended.

Oxygen therapy or supplemental oxygen is the provision of medical oxygen as a health-care intervention. Medical oxygen contains at least 82% pure oxygen, is free from any contamination, making it a viable treatment to help patients breathe.

Oxygen Sources

There are a range of oxygen sources available,  from gas cylinders, liquid oxygen, concentrators, and even an oxygen plant where the oxygen is piped into the medical facility to fill cylinders and/ or is connected to manifold systems in the facility. Choosing the appropriate oxygen source depends on a few different factors, one being the gross flows of oxygen that will be needed for treatment.

During this pandemic oxygen cylinders and concentrators are the most commonly used sources to maintain oxygen levels for patients during treatment.

Oxygen Cylinders or Gas Cylinders are can be used for all oxygen needs, including high-pressure supply and in facilities where power supply is intermittent or unreliable. Also used for ambulatory service or patient transport and as a backup for other systems.

Concentrators are self-contained, electrically powered medical devices designed to concentrate oxygen from ambient air, using PSA technology. They can be used to deliver oxygen at the bedside or within close proximity to patient areas.

Critical Alert stands ready to help patients in need and hospitals with the critical responsibility of ensuring an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen in cylinders.

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