With the global pandemic crippling the health sector and affecting the lives of millions of people across Africa, the health sector was crippled to provide the basic necessities to the general public. In these tiring times, people were coming with a helping hand in the form of finances to meet the requirements of those in medical need.
One of the main issues observed in Covid patients was the drop in oxygen level. To add to the existing health sector collapse was the scarcity of oxygen cylinders in hospitals. Not only did this create havoc in the patients and their families but also gave opportunistic black marketers a space to deceive people into buying oxygen concentrators.
With the situation completely grim, there were many adjustable purity oxygen concentrators available in the market. These claim to give you the required supply of oxygen but what they do not tell you is the catch behind their claims. To understand the specifications of an oxygen cylinder so as not to fall prey to the hands of such fraudsters, people should be aware of the purpose and characteristics of the oxygen concentrator.
The atmosphere has almost 20% oxygen and 70% nitrogen. An oxygen concentrator works by supplying an oxygen-rich gas stream by removing 20% oxygen from nitrogen from the atmosphere, particularly ambient air.
The most common technology used for separating pure oxygen from the air is known as Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA). An oxygen concentrator involves the use of a compressor, porous zeolite mineral, and filter. The concentrator compresses the air, which then moves to the porous zeolite. The nitrogen gets trapped in the pores of the zeolite mineral at high pressure and the remaining oxygen is passed through a filter which then passes through the tube to be used by patients.
Why stay careful about Adjustable Purity Oxygen Concentrators in the market
To understand why we need to beware of the, we must first know how much oxygen does our body needs and when should you ask for oxygen help.
Oxygen is the basic human requirement and is drawn from the atmosphere that involves the inhaling and exhaling process. We inhale oxygen from the air and exhale carbon-di-oxide. This process includes the combined use of 7-8 litres of oxygen per minute.
Assuming that a human would require 5 litres for inhaling and 3 litres for exhaling, this means that per minute a human needs at least 5 litres of oxygen to keep the normal functioning of the body.
The standard oxygen saturation level of the human body should be at 95%. But in a Covid positive patient, the following conditions need to be observed if oxygen saturation falls below 95%- doctors recommend monitoring the oxygen saturation continuously. When the oxygen saturation drops below 90%- It means that the oxygen is not reaching the blood in the body. If the blood becomes deficient in oxygen, it will fail to supply the required amount of oxygen to the brain. This will cause the brain to stop its normal functioning.
This is an alarming situation and a patient whose oxygen saturation falls below 90% requires a PO2 check. This means that the oxygen pressure in human blood needs to be checked immediately.
Now, to overcome a situation and as a safety measure, people opt for oxygen saturators available in the market. The ones available define their oxygen flow rate under technical specifications to be 1-5 L/min adjustable. This is where the deception of oxygen concentrator vendors starts.
An oxygen concentrator with an oxygen flow of 1-5 L/min adjustable means the customer gets a range of 90% oxygen purity at 1 litre and 20% oxygen purity at 5 litres
Assuming that the oxygen concentrator will only work on 5 litres per minute supply of oxygen, then the person affected with Covid and struggling with oxygen unavailability, this 20% is not sufficient. During a low level of oxygen in a patient’s blood, also called Hypoxemia, the patient requires 90% or more oxygen purity.
Going by the above-discussed rule that a human requires 4-5 litres of oxygen supply per minute with the oxygen purity at 90%-93%. This means the oxygen concentrators sold in the market with 1-5 L/min adjustable purity did not serve the patient’s purpose.
If the patient with hypoxemia is using such an oxygen concentrator, then their required oxygen supply per minute will not be met. Under such circumstances, the patient might become critical and would require emergence health services so they can get proper oxygen supply.
Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill and certain notorious sources were misusing this situation and misinforming people for money. People were at a stage where they needed to be aware of the claims made by the vendors and not fall in their loop for our health and safety. In the interest of your family and your safety, beware of such adjustable purity oxygen concentrators. It becomes highly vital to read their technical specifications carefully and save yourself and your loved ones by staying vigilant and aware.