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If I'm, for example, in the lavatory where there are no oxygen masks, would it be advisable to hold your breath until you can reach an oxygen mask, or until the pilot brings the aircraft down to an altitude where we can breath again?

Is it even physically possible to hold your breath after a decompression accident?

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    $\begingroup$ I think there might actually be masks in the lavatories. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Dec 25, 2016 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Notts90 the FAA decided they had to be removed. $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2016 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ Seems daft not to have them to me but not me that makes the rules! $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Dec 25, 2016 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @juanCarlosSantana I was on a flight in the US a week ago and I specifically remember the flight attendant mentioning oxygen masks in the lavatory compartment during the safety briefing. $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2016 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ 2011, the FAA ordered the airlines to disable them. 2012, the FAA ordered the airlines to put them back again within 37 months. The new ones are tamper-proof, so you can't disable it easily to use the oxygen to start a fire. $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2016 at 17:53

2 Answers 2

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No. Holding your breath might cause breaking blood vessels in your lung (barotrauma). It is important to equalize the pressure inside your lung with the exterior. That is in fact the most fundamental rule for all scuba divers.

Also see this related question: Is it possible to suffer barotrauma during decompression?

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The answer by bogl is in the right line, also, I don't know if a person with their lungs having air at a higher pressure than the surroundings, as in a fast decompression, would be able to: 'hold breath' at all. The images in: 'Outland', a 1981 Sci-Fi movie featuring Sean Connery, are eloquent, but fantastic, unrealistic, this couldn't happen.

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