What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used for decades to treat chronic wounds and other medical conditions, including severe anemia (low iron in the blood) and carbon monoxide poisoning. This therapy provides you with air that contains 100 percent oxygen. (Room air contains 21 percent oxygen.) You’ll have hyperbaric oxygen therapy inside a special pressurized chamber, allowing your lungs to absorb greater amounts of oxygen as you breathe.

Doctors use hyperbaric oxygen therapy alone or with other medical treatments, such as medications or surgery. Most people receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy on an outpatient basis for 1 to 2 hours each session. Depending on the type of treatment chamber, you may sit or lie down during the procedure.

Hyperbaric therapy is generally safe. Risks include middle ear injuries, temporary nearsightedness and increased sinus congestion and pressure.

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