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Hypoxia Presentation...need advice

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What up What up
Dec 3, 2001
I'm a junior in college and I have to give a presentation to a Private Pilot Theory class on Hypoxia. I was wondering what main points you would hit on if you had to give this presentation. The presentation needs to be around 20-30 min. long. Any advice will be helpful.
ps. I was going to talk about prevention, symptoms, four types...and any other feedback I get from everyone else. Thanks a lot in advance for your time!
Break it down for them.

What is hypoxia, what are the different types of hypoxia, what are the stages of hypoxia, and what how do you prevent it?

Talk about oxygen within the atmosphere and make sure they understand pressure and partial pressure as it relates to oxygen as we climb in altitude.

When you talk about prevention, make sure you hit upon the many things we can do while on the ground to reduce our risk.

You should have no problems coming up with material to talk about. This is a very important subject that has plenty of readily available information.
Another valuable insight (no pun intended) is the effect of the loss of even a small amount of the partial pressure of oxygen on vision at night. Even at five or six thousand MSL, you aren't seeing as well as you would with supplemental oxygen, and it only gets worse from there.

Secondly, discuss the wide difference in physical symptoms in individuals. The same degree of hypoxia can produce surprising symptoms in different people, even in the same aircraft.

You picked a good topic.
If you have a baloon of 1 cu feet at MSL, What is the volume of the same baloon at 18.000 feet? anyone, anyone?

Using a standard ICAO atmosphere your balloon would measure 1.764 cubic feet if the tension on the surface of the balloon remained constant.
Make sure you talk about TUC (time of useful consciousness) and Effective Performance Time or some other similar chart. It's amazing how little time we have once we get into the flight levels.
When you start the class, ask for a volunteer. When you handcuff the volunteer, let them know it's for their own protection, to ease their anxiety. Be sure to duct tape both nostrils, in addition to the mouth. I find cotton in the nose helps provide a better seal. You can then graphically demonstrate the stages of hypoxia at an accelerated level. Show a typical effective TUC at the 18,000 to 25,000 level, right there in class.

Be prepared for artificial respiration, so pick someone who DIDN'T have McDonalds for breakfast. Also be prepared to do compressions, so have your wheaties for breakfast. Don't tape people with moustaches or beards. Such folks are often very unforgiving, and the bits of hairy tape on the floor take on the appearance of wounded rats. Makes the girls in the class very nervous.

If the subject you pick is bigger than you, you may wish to consider running the cuffs through the aft rung on a chair...and then nailing the chair to the floor before you begin. Smile while you do it. It builds confidence and makes your audience like you. It does very little for your subject unfortunately, but you only have to deal with him or her for several minutes.

Most folks find this demonstration greatly enhances their understanding and retention of the material you present. Be sure it's not someone the instructor likes.

For extra credit, simulate an explosive decompression at altitude. After the subject has been taped for oh, say, thirty or forty seconds, take a couple of cake pans and slam them together right behind his or her head, like cymbols. Then shake the chair, and spray some lysol in his eyes (makes him think everything is misting up). Have him hum a nursery rhyme...show that he can't do it; demonstrates confusion. Drop ice cubes down his shirt and set of a couple off different syrens nearby...then clap his ears really hard at the same time with cupped palms. This adds realism, which could be used to more effect if the subject wasn't handcuffed like a condemned goat.

If you have two volunteers, it gets better. One stays imobilized during the first demo. Put a straw up their nose so they get a little air...keeps them fresh during your lecture. Then, at the end of the class, repeat the demonstration on the second volonter volunter vulonteer VICTIM, and just prior to loss of consciousness, rip off the tape triumphantly, and slap on a rebreather mask with oxygen at 15 litres per minute. This is done to show the speedy recovery possible using oxygen in a timely manner, and may also be used to suggest a rapid descent to lower altitudes.

I only suggest this as the finale to your demo because shortly after applying the oxygen, you may wish to vacate the room. It's up to you.

Good luck!!
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Hypoxia discussion

You might also throw in how smoking impinges on the body's ability to use oxygen. How carbon monoxide has an affinity for red blood cells and how people who smoke are far more susceptible to hypoxia than those who don't.

You can also talk about how alcohol intoxication is a form of hypoxia - toxic hypoxia. How alcohol impinges on the body's use of oxygen. How the symptoms for toxic hypoxia are similar to those for oxygen-deprived hypoxia.

Too bad you can't make your presentation in an altitude chamber with the class taking the training (or can you?). You'd ace the assignment and the course for sure. As a less-trouble alternative, maybe there's a videotape somewhere that you can show of people in an altitude chamber.

I just thought of something else that happened to me. It's pretty mundane, actually, but illustrates how illness can contribute to hypoxia. I was fighting some URI bug. I was at work and wasn't feeling that great, but I could concentrate and think okay. However, I just could not write legibly at all. I tried and tried and tried, but nothing came out legible. Remembering that deteriorating handwriting is a test used in altitude chamber, I saw my doctor that afternoon and asked him if I was hypoxic. He put the pulse-ox sensor on my finger and it was below 90% O2 saturation. I was indeed hypoxic that day.

Good luck with your speech and assignment.
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