Athens Regional Health System
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Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are normally painless.

You simply lie comfortably and restfully in the chamber. You can listen to music, watch TV or nap if you wish and feel no differently than if you were in your own bed.

You may experience a sensation of fullness in your ears during certain stages of the treatment. This is similar to what is felt while flying or driving down a mountain as the eardrum responds to changes in pressure. As part of your introduction to the treatment, you will be taught several easy methods to avoid ear discomfort.

Generally, patients experience no after-effects from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, some patients report a "crackling" in their ears between treatments. You can relieve this in the same way you cleared your ears during changes in pressure while in the chamber.

Rarely, patients having hyperbaric oxygen therapy develop temporary changes in eyesight. Studies have shown in these rare cases that any altered vision is of short duration and will return to its pretreatment status within six to eight weeks after the cessation of treatment.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Preparations

There are preparations before starting each treatment. These will be discussed with you in detail by the Wound Center team. This is a brief look:

  • Smoking: Since tobacco products constrict blood vessels and limit the amount of blood and oxygen delivered to tissues, you should not use tobacco during your treatment.

  • Medications: It's very important you provide the hyperbaric medicine team with your complete list of medications, including nonprescription drugs. Some medications change the body's response to oxygen and these will be discussed with you.

  • Illness: If you experience the symptoms of a cold or the flu, such as fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea or generalized body-aches, notify a hyperbaric staff member as soon as possible. These symptoms may require a temporary delay in your treatment schedule.

  • Clothing: Personal items are not permitted within the hyperbaric chamber. You will be provided with cotton garments to wear during therapy. Cotton is necessary to reduce the potential for static electricity. For this same reason, the following items must also be excluded from the chamber:
    • All air/chemically activated heat wraps such as ThermaCare®
    • Cigarettes/matches/lighters
    • Jewelry and any metal object
    • Hairspray/makeup
    • Perfume/deodorant/shaving lotion
    • Oils/grease (hair/skin products)
    • Any battery-powered device (cell phones, hearing aids, etc.)

In addition, dentures and partial plates will be removed and it may be necessary to remove contact lenses and glasses. Lockers will be provided for you.

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