Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is usually considered safe and side effects are rare. However, there are some risks associated with the high air pressure used. These risks include:
- Ruptured eardrum
- Collapsed lung
- Temporary nearsightedness (not being able to clearly see things that are far away). This usually goes away in a few days or weeks.
Another risk of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is seizure caused by having too much oxygen in your body.
You should not drink alcohol within 8 hours of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Because oxygen can cause a fire if there is a spark, you should not bring a lighter or any device with a battery in it into the hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment area.
Avoid skin care products with petroleum jelly before treatment. They are also a fire hazard around oxygen.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy usually is given at a special outpatient clinic. You will lie on a table inside a long clear plastic tube. The tube will be sealed and filled with pressurized oxygen. You might feel popping or fullness in your ears, similar to the way you feel taking off in an airplane. If this happens, it can help to swallow or yawn.
The clinic staff will be able to see and hear you during your treatment and you can talk to them. You should try to relax and breathe normally. Your treatment will take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You might feel tired or lightheaded afterwards. This should go away soon.
After a hyperbaric oxygen treatment, you should:
- Get plenty of rest for the next 24 hours.
- Drink lots of fluids; avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and colas.
- Avoid taking hot showers or tub baths for 24 hours.
- Do not participate in any strenuous activities for 48 hours.
- Do not fly in any private or commercial aircraft for at least 24 hours