Currently, India is recording more than three lakh new COVID-19 cases every day. In addition, the death toll due to COVID-19 has increased, which is overwhelming as our country is facing a shortage of medicines and supplies, in particular oxygen cylinder.
Why Covid-19 Patients Need Oxygen
According to health experts, the second wave of COVID-19 is attacking the patient’s lungs. By the time symptoms are shown, about 25% of the lungs are already damaged, making the patient gasp for breath. This is why in just 2 to 3 days of experiencing symptoms, the oxygen level in the patient falls below 80%, and there is an urgent need for an oxygen cylinder. Covid-19 infects the lungs, followed by pneumonia, where the lungs get filled with fluid, and the patient cannot get enough air into their lungs. Coronavirus inflates the patient’s lung , due to which our brain and heart do not receive enough oxygen as oxygen cannot travel to other body parts, organ starts to fail.
According to WHO, COVID patients need medical oxygen to ensure that the blood oxygen level is sufficient. Providing COVID patients with medical oxygen helps treat patients with respiratory distress, whether in the hospital or home. If COVID patients in need of oxygen do not get medical oxygen, their chances of recovery become very low. The patient who has just recovered also needs oxygen until their condition is stable.
How To Know A COVID-19 Patient Needs Oxygen Support?
If the oxygen saturation level drops below 90%, one requires oxygen support. However, it would be best if you also looked for the warning signs. A walk test is usually recommended. Ask the patient to sit for six minutes and note the oxygen saturation level. Now ask the patient to walk for 6 minutes and then record the oxygen saturation level. If the oxygen saturation level drops for 3% after the 6 minutes’ walk, the patient need to be hospitalized and needs oxygen support because it is a warning sign that the effect on the lung is significant and may worsen if in the absence of proper medical care.
What Flow Of Oxygen Required For A COVID-19 Patient?
Due to the unavailability of beds in the hospitals, many patients have arranged oxygen cylinders at home. Each patient is different and requires a different flow of oxygen depending upon their oxygen saturation level. Some patients may only need 1-2 litres of oxygen per minute, and some may require 3-4 litres of oxygen a minute.
When A COVID Patient Needs Hospitalization
COVID patients with low oxygen saturation require not only an oxygen cylinder but also proper medical supervision. If oxygen requirement is climbing despite the patient being on oxygen, it is a sign that the patient needs hospitalization.
Mild and moderate COVID are advised to quarantine themselves at home. However, if these patients turn serious, you need to hospitalize them. Signs that indicate that the patient needs immediate hospital care includes:
- The walk test shows a drop of 3% in oxygen saturation level
- Joint pains
- Unconsciousness or unable to wake up
- Discomfort or breathlessness even after taking medical oxygen
- Face, tongue, and lips get dark or discoloured
We strongly advocate consulting and being in touch with your doctor. Follow all instructions given by your doctor. Take all the medicines as prescribed timely and avoid delaying hospitalization if recommended and if possible.
What Is The Oxygen Cylinder Price In India?
In general, the oxygen cylinder price in India varies from a minimum of 4000 to a maximum of 6,000 INR for a 10-liter cylinder. However, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, increased demand, and shortage of oxygen cylinders, the prices may vary. Better check with your local dealer and at local hospitals.
What Is The Difference Between An Oxygen Cylinder And Oxygen Concentrator?
Medical oxygen cylinders contain purity oxygen used for medical treatment. No other type of gas is allowed in this cylinder to prevent contamination.
The oxygen concentrator takes the ambient air and filters the oxygen from nitrogen. Oxygen concentrators only help patients with moderate disease who require only 2 to 3 litres of oxygen per minute.
Are There Other Ways To Boost Oxygen?
Amid the oxygen cylinder crisis, it is essential to be aware of other ways to enhance oxygen levels. According to Health experts, sleeping in a prone position with pillows under your neck, chest, and shins improves oxygen. It is important to note that one should avoid proning for at least an hour after meals. Sleep in the prone position for up to 16 hours a day in multiple cycles. The pillows can be adjusted a little bit to alter pressure areas. Maintain proning only as much as tolerable.
Pregnant females and patients with a condition such as the unstable spine, major cardiac conditions, and deep vein thrombosis should avoid proning. Other than proning breathing exercises, steam inhalation, physiotherapy, and a diet rich in protein, zinc, and vitamin C also improves lung functions and Boosts the oxygen saturation level.
Covid-19 is not just like any other flu. It causes blood clotting, inflammation of the lung, and respiratory distress. It can be life threatening, especially for the elderly, immunocompromised, and patients with chronic diseases such as cardiac diseases and diabetes. Precaution is the best we can do to stay protected rather than being persuaded by the condition to search for oxygen cylinders and concentrators when there is a scramble for oxygen in our country. So please wear Masks sanitize your hands and maintain social distance.