Oxygen masks are devices that are constructed to supply oxygen or other gases to an individual. Masks of this type fit snugly over the nose and mouth, and are equipped with a tube that connects the oxygen mask to a storage tank where the oxygen is contained. The mask may be constructed of rubber, silicone, or plastic. There are a number of different types of oxygen masks in use. Some are designed for use in medical facilities while others are routinely part of the support equipment supplied to firemen, the military, and members of several other professions.
For most people, the first type of oxygen breathing mask that comes to mind is the simple mask that is used in hospitals. Known as an oral nasal mask, this device is utilized to help prepare people for surgery, often by supplying them with anesthesia that is breathed in through the mask. Another application has to do with trauma patients who are having difficulty breathing on their own, either due to injuries or the presence of various health conditions, like lung cancer. In this scenario, the mask can help to supply oxygen quickly, preventing the individual from further distress.
Outside of hospitals, the oxygen mask is also an important component of emergency medical transport services. Ambulances and similar vehicles routinely carry masks and tanks of oxygen for use with individuals who suddenly lose conscious or have difficulty breathing. The use of this life-saving equipment allows technicians to stabilize the patient during the trip to the hospital.