FPJ Fact Check: Can nebuliser be used as alternative for oxygen cylinder?

Amid panic due to surge in COVID-19 cases in India, it's quite easy for misinformation and false news to spread like fire. However, no matter how grim the situation, it's always a good idea to verify the news we consume.

As India is grappling with shortage of oxygen amid increasing demand due to the COVID-19 surge, a video of a healthcare worker claiming that nebuliser machine very well works as a substitute for an oxygen cylinder went viral.

In the video, he can be heard saying that he was saddened to see people running around looking for oxygen cylinders. He went on to say that patients can use nebuliser instead and even demonstrated how it works as he fixed the mask to the nebuliser.

According to a Twitter user, the man in the aforementioned video is Dr Alok Sethi from Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad.

Several believed it to be true and even went on to share it on social media.

A Twitter user said, "He is Dr Alok from Sarvodaya Hospital Faridabad.He has shown an excellent technique using ‘nebuliser’ to improve the levels of blood oxygen level. In today's scenario of Oxygen crisis this can save lives of many."

Well, it should be noted that a nebuliser cannot be used as an alternative for oxygen cylinder.

Doctors too have refuted the claims. Dr Arvinder Singh Soin, Surgeon and Group chairman at Medanta Hospital, said that the claim is "totally baseless." Taking to Twitter, Dr Soin said, "The video demonstrating a purported technique that can substitute a nebulizer machine for an oxygen cylinder to improve blood oxygen levels is totally baseless. It should be discredited."

"A nebuliser won't help to increase your oxygen levels," said Dr Aviral Vatsa, National Health Service, Scotland while speaking to News Tak.

Meanwhile, Sarvodya Healthcare too denied the doctors claims and said that the video has not been backed by any evidence or scientific study, does not reflect andy medical advice and is in no way endorsed by Sarvodya Hospital, Faridabad.

"Always consult a medical practitioner before following any #medication practice, especially for #treatment of severe conditions. Do not fall prey to any information without an authorized source," the hospital said in a tweet

Speaking to India Today, Dr Alok, said that the video is false and he has been alerting people about the same. He said that in the video he was trying to explain the method of using a nebuliser to someone who's stable. He reiterated that "nebuliser is not a replacement to an oxygen cylinder."

What is a nebuliser?

According to British Lung Foundation, "A nebuliser is a machine that helps you to breathe in a medicine as a mist through a mask or a mouthpiece." It converts medicinal drugs into a fine spray and you then breathe in the spray through the mask.

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