|An old mist tent|
As a matter of fact, when oxygen was first introduced as a method of inhaling supplemental oxygen in the mid 19th century, the main technique was having the patient sit in a tent. This was the main technique until the oxygen tank was invented.
During the 1920s oxygen masks and nasal cannulas became the best method of giving oxygen to adults, so tents were left to only a few adults but mainly kids.
Ultimately the tents were cooled by packing ice and water in the back of the device and a cool mist was added to the circulating air inside the tent. This was one of the main methods of treating kids with inflamed upper air passages, or croup.
When I was 11 in 1981 my doctor wanted to put me in a tent once because I refused to wear a nasal cannula. The RT was dilly-dallied for hours before complying with the order, yet eventually he talked me into sitting in it. I remember watching TV through the blurry plastic. After a few hours in was dinner time and I was allowed out. I refused to get back in.
Yet even by 1981 using such tents on adults was rare as the grumbling RT implied. By the time I became an RT in 1995 mist tents, or oxygen tents, were used for this purpose or simply to supply oxygen to kids.
It was to the point that doctors wouldn't even try allowing us to place a nasal cannula on a kid, it was just automatic a mist tent (or oxygen tent) be ordered. It was our discretion whether we turned on the mist or left it off. It was on for croup and off for asthma and RSV. If the doctor had a preference he'd order either mist tent or oxygen tent.
Yet we RTs preferred to use a nasal cannula. I have rarely met a kid who couldn't tolerate a nasal cannula. Surely they might fight initially, yet once it's on they forget about it and tolerate it just fine.
The tents posed problems of their own. For one thing, few kids wanted to stay in one. Usually to get a kid to stay in the parent would cuddle in the tent-surrounded crib. This made getting access to the kid difficult. Plus toys were limited because some could spark and cause fires.
The reason I brought this up was because Advanced for RTs has reported that the CDC no longer recommends mist tents be used because they the mist enhances the spread of droplets in the air. So this should mark the final farewell to the old and infamous mist tent.
Ironically the CDC has yet to outlaw nebulizers which equally spread droplets into rooms. I'd like to see the CDC come out and recommend that one way valves or filters be used on all nebulizers, and, if possible, that nebulizers not be used at all unless indicated.