The summer months can bring on a new set of breathing difficulties and can worsen complications due to the higher levels of humidity and extreme heat. If you are living with COPD or another lung condition, it is important to take even better care of yourself when the temperatures rise. Not only that, but it is important to take care of your oxygen concentrator, too. Here are a few ways to ensure you’re taking care of your oxygen concentrator during the hot summer months.
Using and Storing Your Oxygen Concentrator in High Temperatures
Because the higher temps of summer can take a toll on your oxygen unit, it’s important to have a good understanding of your unit’s operating conditions. Take some time to look in your owner’s manual for the minimum and maximum temperatures it can handle.
Plan your day around the weather and the temperature. Avoid being outdoors when it is hot outside and plan to stay inside during the mid to late hours of the day. Avoid exercising and higher levels of activity when it is warmer. When you are spending time outdoors, you and your oxygen concentrator should take shelter in the shade and you should try to stay as hydrated as possible. If your home does not have cooling features like an air conditioning unit or a swamp cooler, you should consider heading to a friend or family member’s home or a public place (library, indoor mall, movie theater, etc.) that offers cooler temps to take cover.
If you do not use your unit all the time, make sure it is stored in a proper place. Storing your unit in your car or in the trunk of your car can cause major damage. Temperatures in such places, including your garage, basement, attic, or storage unit, can intensely fluctuate. It is best to store your unit in your home where temperatures are consistent, like in a closet or spare room. Thankfully, today’s units are typically outfitted with an alarm system that warns you when the unit is overheating. If your unit gets too hot, it can shut down and not supply the oxygen you need. Do not ignore these warnings!
Humidity, Water, and Your Oxygen Concentrator
Water and high humidity can cause major problems for your oxygen concentrator. These units are not waterproof, so it is important that your unit does not get wet. Summer months and warmer temperatures mean going to the pool or the beach. This also means that you need to protect your unit against splashes, sand, and potential submerging. Water and humidity can also cause issues with bacteria, mold, or fungus. To help avoid such problems, you can increase the number of cleanings your unit receives.
Other Summer Activities
Along with pool and beach visits, your summer is likely to consist of camping and holiday celebrations. These activities often include campfires, matches, sparklers, and other potentially dangerous things. You should not use your oxygen equipment in the presence of an open flame. Mind your distance (at least 10 or so feet away from the heat source) and practice good safety.