Non-Rebreather Masks , Simple Mask and Rebreather Mask, Uses And More

What is the difference between a non-rebreather mask and a rebreather mask?

In an emergency, a non-rebreather mask is medical equipment that helps supply oxygen. It comprises a face mask attached to a reservoir bag containing a high oxygen concentration. An oxygen tank is linked to the reservoir bag, and both your mouth and nose are covered by the mask.

Exhaled air is prevented from reentering the oxygen reservoir via one-way valves.

In emergency settings, a non-rebreather mask is used to prevent hypoxemia or low blood oxygen. Low blood oxygen levels can be caused by conditions that interfere with your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen or your heart’s ability to pump blood.

If your blood oxygen levels go too low, you may get hypoxia, a condition in which your vital tissues are deprived of oxygen.

To keep blood oxygen levels within a normal range following traumatic injury, smoke inhalation, or carbon monoxide poisoning, a non-rebreather mask can be employed.

We’ll go over how non-rebreather masks function and how they vary from other oxygen treatment masks in this article.


What is the purpose of a non-rebreather mask?


An elastic band around your head secures a non-rebreather face mask over your mouth and nose. A plastic reservoir bag filled with a high concentration of oxygen is linked to the mask. Exhaled oxygen does not mix with oxygen in the reservoir bag since the mask features a one-way valve system.


When you inhale, oxygen from the reservoir bag is drawn into your lungs. Exhaled air departs the mask through vents on the side and returns to the atmosphere.

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Non-rebreather masks provide you with a higher oxygen concentration than regular masks. They’re usually only utilized for short-term oxygenation boosts.

Non-rebreather masks aren’t widely utilized because they pose a number of dangers. Suffocation can occur when airflow is disrupted. If you’re sedated or unconscious, you could choke if you vomit while wearing the mask. During the use of this sort of mask, a healthcare provider is usually present.


Non-rebreather vs. partial rebreather


At a flow rate of 10 to 15 liters per minute (L/min), a non-rebreather mask may give 60 to 80 percent oxygen. Because they can swiftly transport oxygen to your blood, they’re useful in circumstances where people have dangerously low blood oxygen levels.


Non-rebreather masks have a one-way valve between the reservoir bag and the mask. Partial rebreather masks have a two-way valve between them. The valve permits a small amount of your breath to return to the reservoir bag.

With a partial rebreather, it’s more difficult to maintain a high blood oxygen concentration since the oxygen concentration in the reservoir bag becomes diluted.


In an emergency, either sort of mask can be utilized. Based on your specific condition, a medical professional will determine which mask to use.

Simple mask and rebreather vs. non-rebreather

To give a low to moderate amount of oxygen, a simple face mask is commonly employed. A basic mask has holes on the sides to allow exhaled air to pass through while also preventing suffocation in the event of a blockage.

It can deliver 40 to 60 percent oxygen at a rate of 6 to 10 L/min. It’s for folks who can breathe normally yet have low blood oxygen levels.

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A basic face mask does not provide the same level of oxygen as a non-rebreather mask, but it is safer in the event of a blockage. Based on the exact condition being treated and blood oxygen levels, a medical specialist will determine which sort of oxygen delivery system is required.

In the context of oxygen therapy, a rebreather mask is a misnomer because it does not exist. A basic mask is frequently referred to as a “rebreather mask.”

Is it possible for me to wear a non-rebreathing mask at home?

Home usage of non-rebreathing masks is not possible. A non-rebreathing mask is designed to be used for a limited period of time, such as when transferring individuals to the hospital. They should only be used under medical supervision and are rarely utilized outside of an emergency department. Suffocation can occur if the oxygen supply is interrupted.

People with chronic obstructive lung disease, severe asthma, or cystic fibrosis may benefit from home oxygen therapy, according to their doctor.

Oxygen tanks or an oxygen concentrator can be used to deliver home oxygen therapy. It’s usually given by a nasal cannula or tubes inserted into your nostrils. It’s also possible to use a face mask to deliver it.


In emergency cases, non-rebreathing masks are used to deliver high amounts of oxygen. These masks can be used to protect against severe injuries, smoke inhalation, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

There are no non-rebreathing masks available for usage at home. A home oxygen system, on the other hand, maybe beneficial if you have a condition like severe asthma that affects your breathing. Consult your doctor to see if a home oxygen system is appropriate for you.


I am a practising physician and medical expert also a blogger and content creator

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