What is Supplemental Oxygen?

Before 2020, you may not have given a whole lot of thought to oxygen. Sure, you were aware that you needed oxygen to live, but it probably wasn’t a huge concern of yours. 

When Covid-19 showed up at the beginning of 2020, we all started becoming more aware of our breathing and of our need for oxygen. If you or a loved one is admitted to the hospital with any respiratory illness, one of the first things that the staff may administer is supplemental oxygen. 

To maintain normal breathing patterns if you are ill or having any breathing challenges, supplemental oxygen is the first intervention you will receive. 

What Is Supplemental Oxygen?

Why is Supplemental Oxygen Important?

Supplemental oxygen is likely the first line treatment for low blood oxygen levels. It is usually administered quickly to help bring the patient’s body oxygen levels back to normal. 

Oxygen is critical for health. It is used by the body to produce the energy we need. This is why we feel extremely fatigued when we are lacking oxygen. Not enough oxygen also causes confusion, rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, and wheezing or coughing. When a patient begins to demonstrate these symptoms, medical staff will quickly measure their oxygenation levels and administer oxygen, if required.

Normal Oxygen Levels

Normal oxygen levels range from 75 to 100 mmHg. A doctor may become concerned if your oxygen dips to 60 mmHg or lower. Depending on your results and symptoms, your doctor will then evaluate the best course of action for you and will likely recommend supplemental oxygen.

Do You Need Supplemental Oxygen?

Some people, particularly those with chronic respiratory conditions, need oxygen all the time. This type of  medical-grade oxygen is usually prescribed and monitored by a physician. 

But others, even those that are healthy, prefer to use supplemental oxygen occasionally. Oxygen may be beneficial if you are spending time at high altitudes or for intense athletic activity. Using supplemental oxygen, whether regularly or from time to time, has many beneficial applications for health and well-being. 

Having a can or two of Boost Oxygen on hand to help supplement oxygen temporarily, so you can breathe easier and make a clear-headed decision about your medical treatment. 

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Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and freelance writer with 13-years of experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Through her writing she demonstrates her passion for helping people achieve ideal health and make transformational changes in their lives.