10 Tips For Safe Oxygen Therapy
Because of the treatments available today for COPD and emphysema, people are able to enjoy a similar quality of life to those that do not need oxygen therapy.
Oxygen therapy is not a couch or chair sentence. Portable concentrators allow you to continue living your life and to keep doing the things you love. However, some safety measures must be taken.
Oxygen is combustible; meaning things will burn easier, hotter and faster in areas where oxygen is concentrated. If oxygen is being used there are several safety tips that should be followed and implemented every single day.
Never smoke around your oxygen concentrator. Every time a cigarette, cigar, or anything else is lit in an oxygen-rich area, your life and the lives around you are put in danger. This includes second-hand smoking. If necessary, post “No Smoking” signs around your home. If you require oxygen therapy and are a smoker, talk to your doctor about quitting as soon as you are able.
No Open Flames
Lighters, matches, candles, and/or any other type of open flame must not be used in oxygen-rich areas.
Always Follow Instructions
Always follow the instructions given by your doctor and your oxygen supplier.
Turn It Off
If your concentrator is not in use, be sure to turn the oxygen supply off completely. Doing so will lower your risk of a house fire.
Your home should be outfitted with functioning smoke detectors. It is important to test them often and replace batteries regularly. Familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers and how to properly use them. Put an emergency plan in place that you and your family can remember.
Give Yourself and Your Oxygen Supply Source Space
If you are around any heat source (i.e. an electric or gas stove or heater, fireplace, etc.), be sure to give yourself and your oxygen supply source at least 5-10 feet of space.
Properly Store Your Oxygen Supply
Be sure to store any additional oxygen canisters in an upright and secure position in an approved storage device. Keep them away from any heat sources.
Avoid Petroleum Products
Because petroleum is very flammable, it is important to avoid using products (like lotions or creams) that contain petroleum. You should use water-based products instead.
Inform Your Power Company
Be sure to inform your power company that you use oxygen. They will make your home a priority in the event of a power outage. They may even offer a power generator. Because you are oxygen dependent, some power companies offer a discounted rate due to medical necessity.
Take Proper Care of Your Oxygen Concentrator
Take care of your oxygen concentrator. Educate yourself on your specific unit and conduct regular maintenance. You should be familiar with what each button, switch or valve does, potential alarms, any error codes, and know all the safety checks before an issue arises. If you are unsure how something works, be sure to ask for any information and additional help you may need.