A Oxygen mask is a technical device to support the necessary oxygen supply to the body through ventilation through the mouth and nose. An oxygen mask can be used for a variety of reasons. The oxygen supply can be used in addition to natural breathing or, in the event of a temporary failure or prevention of breathing, even as a replacement.
What an oxygen mask?In the version of the full face mask or half face mask, ventilation is provided via a hose connection to an oxygen cylinder or a chemical gas generator.
The human body is dependent on constant oxygen uptake through the airways. This is the only way to continuously ensure the efficiency of the organ and muscle functions via the lungs and then the blood circulation.
An inadequate supply of oxygen can lead to varying degrees of restriction of these functions. So that this does not happen, there is the possibility of preventing with an oxygen mask or using this as needed in the event of existing disorders.
A mask made of flexible and resistant plastic is placed on the mouth and nose and fixed in place. The feeding tube is attached to either an oxygen cylinder or a ventilator. The mask of a ventilator, with which the demand-based oxygen is supplied via the room air, can also be operated exclusively through the covered nose. A specific overpressure is generated when breathing in, which supports the patient in his breathing. During the exhalation phase, negative pressure makes it easier to exhale the air.
In the case of supplementary or alternative ventilation using a mask in conjunction with an oxygen cylinder, a suitable oxygen value is determined. Oxygen masks are used in everyday patient life at home, in emergencies, long-term care cases and as a protective device for certain occupational exercises and some sports.
Shapes, types & types
An oxygen mask is made of plastic, rubber, or silicone. The shape of the mask is designed differently depending on the purpose. It is used either to enclose the entire face including the eye area or just to cover the mouth and nose.
In addition, oxygen masks are also designed to seal only the nasal area in order to deliver a mixture of oxygen. This nasal mask is widely used for long-term therapy for sleep apnea.
In the version of the full face mask or half face mask, ventilation is provided via a hose connection to an oxygen cylinder or a chemical gas generator. The appropriate setting of the supplied mixture takes place via the regulation by a pressure valve and a pressure reducer.
There are also special oxygen masks for children and adults with variable oxygen concentrations for medium and high concentrations. Some versions are associated with a carbon dioxide meter. Oxygen masks are also available in combination with a breath indicator.
As respiratory protection masks, full face masks can prevent hazards from polluted air. If the oxygen concentration is high, rebreathing-free masks with reservoir bags are also used for certain people.
Structure & functionality
Oxygen masks can be used as respiratory protection or to support breathing, both depending on the ambient air and independently of the ambient air. With a nasal mask for the treatment of sleep apnea, a sleeping person is supplied with room air by an electronic ventilator via a hose and mask. The mask is attached to the back of the head with two rubber bands to ensure a snug fit.
The risk of the airway being blocked by the tongue is prevented by increasing the air pressure in the throat. The exhaled air can escape through valve flaps. The ventilation control unit is equipped with two exchangeable filters, one anthracite-colored and one white special filter. The gray foam filter is supposed to catch normal house dust. Due to the more intensive effect of the white filter, fine particles should also be filtered out of the air.
Depending on the equipment and quality of the device, a precise, needs-based automatic control system is used to individually increase or reduce the patient's breathing air supply. This is especially true in the sleep phase.
Due to signs of wear and tear, masks must be replaced at certain intervals, since the accuracy of fit is important for functionality. When a nasal mask is used at home, regular device checks by a specialist company as well as strict adherence to the operating instructions are essential.
Half- or full-face masks operated by oxygen cylinders with regulators also require proper handling and control. An incorrect setting of pressure and mixture can otherwise have fatal health consequences. This applies both to the medically necessary measures of oxygen supply by means of a mask and to occupational use or use in sports. Above all, controlled handling must prevent carbon dioxide poisoning during exhalation.
Depending on the intended use, compressed air cylinders, chemically bound oxygen or liquid oxygen are possible. The intended use of time also plays a role.
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Medical & health benefits
According to a specialist study, so-called microsleep is one of the most common causes of fatal traffic accidents. In numerous cases, this is triggered by fatal daytime sleepiness due to untreated sleep apnea. Long-term therapy using an oxygen mask in conjunction with a ventilator would counteract this problem. This would prevent the consequences for those affected and major economic damage.
A noticeable improvement through the use of the oxygen mask would also occur in the everyday performance and comfort area of those affected.
A self-contained oxygen mask is essential for pilots without a compressed air cabin when flying at certain altitudes. The oxygen reduction at higher altitudes also plays an important role for extreme mountaineers. With the help of an oxygen mask, you can improve your performance at higher altitudes and protect your health. The same applies to divers in deeper waters.
The use of an oxygen mask is also essential for many workers in industrial processing for health protection. This is particularly true in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, paint shops and woodworking companies. It also applies in part to professional practice in mining and medical research laboratories.
Due to the development of smoke and the release of pollutants during fires, the fire brigade is also often dependent on wearing oxygen masks for health protection and ensuring operational readiness. The use of oxygen masks also makes an irreplaceable contribution to life and health during the medical / emergency treatment of patients in need of ventilation for various causes.