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Oxygen Administration

What is Oxygen Therapy and Why is it Used for Treating Diving Accidents?

Pure Oxygen is a part of the air we breathe. Oxygen is also the most widely prescribed "drug" in hospitals; about a quarter of all patients entering an acute care hospital will receive inhaled oxygen at some point during their stay.


Supplemental oxygen is widely employed to improve low oxygen level in the bloodstream. Virtually any condition affecting the lungs can lead to a low blood oxygen level: asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, heart failure, etc., so Oxygen Therapy is an invaluable tool in treating many emergency accident victims. By contrast, the oxygen is used in diving accidents is employed to shrink bubbles that have formed in the blood and tissues. For all diving related cases of Decompression Sickness (DCS or “The Bends”) or Arterial Gas Embolism (AGE), the primary First Aid goal is to administer 100% inhaled oxygen. DCS and AGE are very rarely encountered, which is one reason why most hospitals don't have a hyperbaric treatment chamber. Scuba diving, however, is very popular, and all divers should understand the role of supplemental oxygen in treating the rare cases of DCS or AGE. All of the Internationally recognized Diver Training Agencies (DAN, IDEA, NASDS, NAUI, PADI, PDIC, SSI, YMCA) require First Aid and CPR Training as a prerequisite for Rescue Diver or Dive Leader certification, and all encourage additional training in O2 Systems. Oxygen Management and Delivery are covered in Module 3 of the PAB First Aid Student Manual, so anyone with interest in Scuba Diving should complete this section of the PAB Training.









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