Tips for Respiratory Failure Management in Hypoxic Atmospheres

Shortness of breath medically referred to as a respiratory failure, can be more or less severe. In some scenarios, the patient suffering from this condition will not be able to provide themselves with the conditions necessary for their own recovery.

You see, shortness of breath is so unpleasant that it can cause a panic attack or, at the very least, make the person in question unable to think straight. While some habits and lifestyle choices can help boost your mental resilience. There’s no way to tell how you’ll act in moments of crisis. This is why, having someone on their side, someone who can provide them with immediate assistance can be life-saving.

However, what if the shortness of air happens in a hypoxic atmosphere? Providing respiratory assistance in oxygen-deficient environments is even more difficult. This means that every single action you take makes a world of difference. This is often the case in confined spaces and a lot of people are forced to work in such environments. Here are some tips on how to avoid these problems and how to manage them all successfully.

1.      Checking the oxygen levels

check oxygen

The first thing you need to keep in mind is checking the oxygen levels. The average is 20.9% oxygen, which is the rate that our respiratory system is accustomed to. If it gets any lower, it can be quite hard to breathe. Keep in mind that in some confined areas, the level can come down to 18%, which may cause some people working in such environments to faint.

You should also remember that if the worker in question has some pre-existing cardiac conditions, they might be more susceptible to these issues. This is why it’s crucial that before you send someone to work in these conditions, you make them do a thorough medical checkup.

Some emergencies may increase the rate at which the oxygen levels are falling. Rusting, combusting, and decomposition of organic matter are some of these issues. Keep in mind that while rusting and decomposing will deplete these oxygen levels slowly, a fire will rapidly change the situation.

In order to keep this in check, install a gas monitor. Just bear in mind to check in on it every now and again, seeing as how some alarms won’t be triggered until the level of oxygen falls under 19.5%. While this is not life-threatening, you need to keep the rate at 20.9% at all times, seeing as how anything lower is considered a hypoxic atmosphere.

2.      Prepare for the situation

prepare for situation

Improvising will not provide you with the desired income. What you need is to prepare everything in advance. You need to start with the training. You should have at least one member of your permanent staff trained to provide medical assistance in these scenarios.

Second, you need to have all the necessary equipment, ranging from the above-mentioned gas monitor, all the way to medical equipment.

Finally, you need to make sure that everyone is aware of the risk. First, you should never let someone who’s untrained enter the site. Second, you need to put up a warning at the very entrance. When organizing the workspace that is described as hypoxic, you need to have the right safety signs and equipment. This may sound oversimplified but it can save lives.

3.      Time is of the essence

Shortness of breath


Those who suffer from respiratory failure need to receive immediate treatment but this won’t be possible on-spot. What you need is to get them to the location where they can get the right medical assistance. This is why it’s so important that you extract them and get them to the place where they can get the medical assistance they need. However, you should also enable your staff to provide some immediate assistance. This way, you prevent serious damage.

At the very At least, you should have some oxygen ready. Then, once you extract them, you should call 911 and have them rest until the help arrives. Sure, this might not sound like much but it’s definitely the most you can do. Applying oxygen therapy is something that should be done in hospital conditions by a staff trained for this protocol but sometimes, you won’t have much choice.

This is another reason why we mentioned doing medical checkups before hiring them for work in confined spaces. A flawless medical condition isn’t a guarantee of safety but it buys time. These nuances can change so much.

In conclusion

In other words, there are several steps you need to take in order to manage this type of crisis. First, you need to understand that there is a risk and know what it is. Second, you need to make sure that your staff is vetted, trained, and instructed on potential hazards. Third, you need to provide your staff with a contingency plan, as well as necessary equipment for safe extraction. In the end, it’s essential that you keep your wits about yourself. In moments like these, panic is a luxury that you can’t afford.

 Author bio:

Gabriel Hill is an Australian blogger interested in a variety of spheres from home improvement and health to management and environment.

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