File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Aug 7: Panic-stricken people are stocking up on oxygen cylinders as COVID induced bilateral pneumonia cases have recorded a sharp increase in Kashmir.

Fearing a shortage of hospital beds, people are buying oxygen cylinders to ensure that sensitive patients are taken care of at home.

Demand for oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, and pulse oximeters have suddenly seen a sharp increase.

What has underlined the importance of cylinders is the government’s emphasis on checking oxygen saturation levels of COVID patients under isolation.

Fayaz Ahmad Langoo, who owns an industrial shop at Alamgari Bazar said that he sold more than 1000 cylinders in June.

“Earlier, I used to get around 10-15 inquiries on oxygen cylinders per day before Covid-19. At present, I receive around 80-90 inquiries on an average who are in need of oxygen cylinders,” he said.

He pointed out that this sudden increase in demand for oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators has led to a shortage in the market.

“There is an acute shortage of oxygen cylinders and flu meters now. Even oximeters are becoming scarce,” he said.

Manager at Athrout, Mudasir Ahmad said the demand for oxygen concentrators has increased.

“We receive 5-10 inquires per day. We have more than 170 oxygen concentrators.  All of them are with patients. We are giving 50 concentrators free to underprivileged,” he said.

On the other side, doctors have cautioned that oxygen cylinders should not be stored at home unnecessarily.

“The oxygen supply must be controlled by a doctor or healthcare provider. Moreover, only people with chronic respiratory disorders who are on oxygen concentrators round the clock can keep this as a backup,” a doctor at SMHS Hospital Srinagar said.

Dr. Tariq Trumboo, Interventional pain specialist and Chairman Spine loop International USA wrote on Twitter: “If you are young positive, have no or mild symptoms and if you are able to walk around for a few minutes without feeling breathless or chest discomfort. You need not need to buy pulse oximetry. This will increase anxiety.”

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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