Oxygen is like fuel but for humans. The human body cannot function properly without an adequate supply of oxygen. Although oxygen is abundant in the air we breathe, people with lung and other medical conditions may have difficulties getting enough oxygen, resulting in sleep deprivation, loss of concentration, fatigue, and others. An oxygen machine for home use can help such people get a sufficient oxygen supply. But the device needs to be carefully handled and stored to prevent accidents. That said, read on for helpful tips to help you stay safe when using oxygen therapy at home:
How Much Oxygen Therapy Do I Need?
The amount of oxygen you need may vary due to several factors. For example, you may need more oxygen when working out than sleeping. Your doctor will make a diagnosis to figure out how much oxygen you need and prescribe a suitable amount to use at home.
Types of Oxygen Delivery Systems
Oxygen machines may work differently, but they all serve the same purpose. Here are some of the devices responsible for the delivery of oxygen to patients:
A nasal cannula is a soft tube made from plastic that features two small prongs at one end. The prongs are placed inside your nose as the tube rests above your ears for support. One end connects the oxygen supply to the nasal cannula to deliver steady amounts of oxygen.
This device comfortably fits over your mouth and nose but makes speaking, eating, and drinking while wearing it a bit challenging. The device is useful since it enables a lot of oxygen to be transmitted at a go. Most at-home oxygen machines use face masks to transfer oxygen to patients with sleep apnea and other health conditions that cause shortness of breath.
A transtracheal catheter uses a small plastic cube called a “catheter.” A doctor places the catheter on a patient’s neck and connects it to the windpipe. They then put a necklace to support the tube as the other end connects to the oxygen supply. Doctors often use this procedure when patients have severe health problems or injuries.
How to Stay Safe When Using Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy is generally safe to use as long as you follow all safety instructions. However, oxygen is flammable and can easily catch fire or explode if not handled with care. Follow the tips below for safe handling tips of at-home oxygen equipment:
- Don’t Smoke or Expose It to Fire: Smoking near your oxygen tank can ignite a flame and cause injuries. To be safe, place the device away from open flames, cigarette lighters, scratch matches, and fire sources.
- Maintain a Safe Distance From Heat Sources: Stay at least 5 feet away from heat sources like candles, stoves, fireplaces, and electric and gas heaters.
- Avoid Using Flammable Products: Don’t use flammable products like aerosol sprays, paint thinners, and cleaning fluid when handling oxygen devices.
- Store Your Oxygen Tank Properly: Always place your oxygen tank upright. You can attach it to a fixed object for support so it doesn’t topple.
- Keep off Petroleum, Grease, and Oil Products: Don’t use products with any of the listed ingredients while on oxygen therapy. Products with said ingredients are highly flammable and may burn or explode when placed close to oxygen machines.
- Have a Fire Extinguisher Near You: A fire extinguisher can help prevent fire from spreading and becoming more destructive. It is also recommended to notify the nearest fire department that you have an oxygen tank at home.
- Notify Your Electricity Provider: Disclose to your electricity supplier that you have an oxygen device at home, so they prioritize your home in case of a power outage.
Oxygen is highly beneficial to the health and functionality of the mind and body. Unfortunately, patients with respiratory conditions may fail to get enough oxygen to support body functions efficiently. Fortunately, that can be resolved through oxygen therapy, which increases oxygen supply. However, to avoid accidents, you must adhere to all necessary safety protocols when handling oxygen equipment. Follow the tips provided to learn how to safely use your oxygen device without endangering your life and those of the people around you.