Oxygen is the most widespread chemical element found on Earth, commonly dissolving into rivers, lakes or oceans. Molecular oxygen occurs almost completely in the atmosphere.
Oxygen is an oxidizing agent that easily forms oxides with virtually all chemical elements except noble gases. As a result, most of the Earth’s oxygen binds to other elements in compounds such as silicates, oxides and water.
Although the Dioxygen (O2) is generally called only Oxygen, it’s actually a diatomic molecule composed of two oxygen atoms. The other allotropic variety of oxygen formed by three atoms (O3), is known as Ozone.
In Medicine, oxygen supplementation is used primarily to increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream of patients. Oxygen is used therapeutically to treat emphysema, pneumonia, heart conditions such as congestive heart failure, some disorders that cause increased pulmonary artery pressure, and any other disease that affects the body’s ability to absorb and use gaseous oxygen.
Oxygen Therapies that generate supplemental oxygen are also used in situations when there is an insufficient level of oxygen in the blood, for example due to carbon monoxide toxicity. Long-term oxygen is often useful in people with a chronically low oxygen level, such as those with cystic fibrosis.
Oxygen can be administered in several ways, including using a nasal cannula, a facial mask or inside a hyperbaric chamber. The treatments are adaptable enough to be used in hospitals, in the patient’s own home or, increasingly, with portable devices.