What can treat the severe stages of asthma?
In more severe asthmatic patients, medications such as magnesium sulfate, Intravenous corticosteroids, and oxygen therapy may be administered. However, the first line of defense for successful oxygen therapy is to keep the face mask properly clean and, if necessary, to use a moisturizer and humidifier to avoid dryness. Oxygen therapy cannulas deliver oxygen at a low rate, and in some rare cases, they may cause epistaxis – bleeding from the nose. When a patient is already suffering from bleeding, this can be a problem, as it may intensify hypoxia.
Even though oxygen delivery cannulas are more comfortable for the patient compared to face masks, it is important for nurses to check that the nasal cannula tubing is not adjusted too tight on the patient as this may cause pressure behind their ears which may also lead to skin irritation and ulcers. Using a flow meter, the nurse can adjust how much oxygen is delivered to according to what has been prescribed. How much oxygen the patient inspires is determined by three factors; their respiratory rate, depth of respiration and amount of oxygen being delivered.
Simple face masks, on the other hand, deliver a high flow of oxygen/doses; this is because when the patient exhales carbon dioxide into the face mask, a high flow of oxygen is needed to help push out the carbon dioxide, and therefore the patient is not rebreathing in carbon dioxide. It is important that the straps on the face mask are not adjusted too tight otherwise these may also irritate the skin. It is also crucial that there is a tight seal around the face so that the oxygen does not escape through the sides of the mask.