The initial treatment for decompression illness includes oxygen therapy. Those with severe decompression illness require admission to the hospital for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing the person with decompression illness into a sealed chamber. Inside the chamber, the air pressure is increased far beyond normal atmospheric pressure. The increased pressure compresses bubbles of gas in the body, and the gas molecules dissolve in the bloodstream. Once the molecules of gas are in the bloodstream, the harmful gas can be expelled by the lungs.
Additional medications for decompression illness include aspirin, corticosteroid medications, and narcotic pain medications or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.
Treatment for decompression illness may include:
- Oxygen therapy
- Hyperbaric therapy
- Corticosteroid medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
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