An oxygen mask is used to aid in delivering oxygen into the lungs. Oxygen masks are usually made of plastic, silicone or rubber and come in two basic designs. An oxygen mask that covers the nose and mouth is called an oral nasal mask, and one that covers the entire face is called a full face mask. Oxygen masks can be used to help someone to breathe during emergency situations in a hospital setting, but there are many kinds of oxygen masks that are used for various situations.
How Oxygen Masks Work
An oxygen mask works by effectively delivering oxygen to the user from an attached storage unit such as an oxygen tank. The oxygen flows through a tube or a hose from the storage tank to the mask, and oxygen flow is regulated by a valve. Oxygen is directly delivered to the user either manually, as in the medical field, or automatically, as in aircraft for emergency purposes.
Oxygen Face Masks
Oxygen face masks are the most common type of oxygen masks used in hospitals. This oxygen mask is used for non-life-threatening situations that may worsen, such as if a person is experiencing chest pains. Oxygen face masks can deliver specific amounts of oxygen that can be controlled with the use of an oxygen generator.
Non-Rebreather Oxygen Mask
The non-rebreather oxygen mask is used when a patient needs oxygen but doesn't need help breathing. This mask is commonly used for people in more serious conditions, such as those suffering from serious trauma injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning or any other condition that requires the patient to receive plenty of oxygen. Oxygen enters the lungs between breaths by the use of a reservoir bag. Air in the room is prevented from entering the mask by a valve, so that only pure oxygen is inhaled.
Bag Valve Mask
The bag valve mask is a manual respirator used for patients who are in critical condition, such as those who are having difficulty breathing or who are not breathing at all. It is often used when a patient has to come off a mechanical respirator or during emergencies. This mask has a bag that's manually squeezed to help the lungs function and delivers 100 per cent pure oxygen to help the patient breathe.
Other Oxygen Masks
Other oxygen masks include pet oxygen masks, oxygen masks used by pilots in the aviation field, emergency oxygen masks used by passengers in aircraft when there is a sudden change of pressure in the aeroplane, self-contained breathing apparatus used mostly by firefighters and oxygen masks used by mountain climbers to help them breathe when climbing in high altitudes.