Pandemics have hit humanity before, before COVID-19 there was a real nasty thing called the Spanish flu or H1N1 of 1918. It hit the United States hard as troops were brought back from Europe and the First World War. By 1919 one third of the population was infected with it and 675,000 perished. Death was primarily caused by pulmonary infection. The respiratory failure that H1N1 of 1918 induced created a hypoxemia in the victim’s circulatory system. Hypoxemia is a below-normal level of oxygen in your blood, specifically in the arteries. One of the tools used to help save patients at the time was the then novel concept of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of HBOT. Patients were treated with HBOT, over a period of three days and were saved. 

Today’s coronavirus’ mortality is due to pulmonary infection and respiratory failure. While there are differences between the Spanish Flu and coronavirus the primary pathology is in the lungs. Wuhan China was where the first reported cases of COVID-19 and it is from Wuhan that promising results have been published for the treatment of five COVID-19 patients (2 who were in critical condition and 3 more in severe) using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. 

HBOT therapy sessions of 90-120 minutes were added to the current comprehensive treatments being performed at the hospital for COVID-19 affected patients. All 5 patients received significant therapeutic benefits from HBOT and relief of symptoms after just the first session. Though not a cure, HBOT did fight against hypoxemia. The progressive hypoxemia was primarily responsible for the increase in the mortality rate.

The virus attacks the lungs causing inflammation, therefore the body has a difficult time getting the needed oxygen into the bloodstream. Overcoming hypoxemia: the advantage of using HBOT over the standard ventalors, is that HBOT introduces oxygen to the patient within a higher pressure environment, compensating for the reduced lung capacity and lowering inflammation. 

DISCLAIMER: It is very important to note that this article is not to be construed as an article that promotes treating COVID-19 with hyperbaric therapy. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected of having this infection, should follow the CDC Guidelines ( and not seek treatments in a hyperbaric chamber as an alternative). This material is purely educational and we direct you to read the published report from Wuhan China HERE., the first organ of contact with hyperbaric therapy beyond the skin.  The ability of hyperbaric oxygen to penetrate inflammatory pulmonary secretions allows adequate oxygen to reach the blood while inhibiting the inflammatory process.

Applied correctly, hyperbaric therapy may have utility in coronavirus patients similar to its life-saving history with the Spanish Flu.

To learn more about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy go to our webpage at